Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft (2013)

HanselAndGretel-WarriorsOfWBooboo and Fivel Stewart together at last! I’m glad they waited for that right cinematic project to get together and reveal their inner strength as an on-screen duo. Granted, Fivel Stewart is adorable, but “Warriors of Witchcraft” is one of the most uneventful knock offs of 2013. Especially for a movie with such a low budget, and the casting of Eric Roberts as a the school’s overly eager headmaster. The titular characters Jonah and Ella attend after Jonah is kicked out of his old school for fighting. Feeling the need to look after him, Ella follows Jonah to his new school, and before long discovers that this posh mostly bland private school is being run by witches.

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The Craft (1996)

the-craftThe nineties experienced an odd resurgence in the interest of witchcraft for a while. So much so that even I dabbled in it and Paganism for a while. In my ever expanding love for the occult I took to intensive research of the art of witchcraft, and I think it was contagious for a while. There was the hit TV show “Charmed,” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and of course there were films like “Hocus Pocus,” “Practical Magic,” the revived film version of “The Crucible,” and the rather slick horror drama “The Craft” to help induce the interest in the apparent appeal of the religion. While somewhat fading in to obscurity, it’s still an utterly mesmerizing teen oriented horror thriller and one painfully copied in “The Covenant.”

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5ive Girls (2006)

You just have to appreciate a horror movie that asks you to take it seriously, all the while having an opening theme song of techno pop set to Ron Perlman’s voice quoting bible passages. That’s new. “5ive Girls” is another religious themed supernatural low budget fest that really attempts to think of itself as a sequel of “The Craft.” And trust me if you’ve seen the aforementioned title, then you really have no obligation to see this. Alex just moved into town with her father, and is forced to attend a local reformatory that takes in wayward girls. Alex, of course, possesses telekinesis, and is really disobedient and sure enough, she finds friends in the individuals reform school girls who all discover they serve a higher purpose. They are apparently the Supernatural friends, five girls who possess unique abilities, including Alex who is pretty much Carrie White but hotter. Fans of “Charmed” and the Fairuza Balk vehicle will definitely find interest in this thriller, as it basically really takes a great premise and does nothing really exciting with it.

Sonoda’s “5ive Girls” isn’t an awful movie by any standards, but the attempts at murk and atmosphere pretty much sap every bit of energy and pacing from the story and performances. There are your usual clichés including a sympathetic priest, a monstrous head mistress, lesbian subtext, the usual arguments between the female students, and the constant flashing of the pentagram. “5ive Girls” is such a run of the mill supernatural film that the concept never really garnered any interest my way. The characters are all so interchangeable and forgettable. One can walk through walls, one can heal through touch and yet I really couldn’t point out which girl had which power if you asked me to. The sad fact is that the film really sells itself as a hip Gothic parade of black magic and evil and yet has the lagging pace of “Whispering Corridors.”

Sonoda’s direction really doesn’t add much to the lagging proceedings in the end, and in spite of all the attempts to spin the formula, this story has been done and much better. In a reform school of apparently only five girls, they do nothing but yap back and forth with no real substance or interesting exchanges, and the visions continue just to remind us that we’re watching a horror film. We already know who the demonic entity challenging them is, and we’re well aware that the girl power message will strive to defeat the demon in the end; “5ive Girls” holds no surprises, and is just flat out dull. Sonoda’s supernatural horror flick would be a lot of fun if it wasn’t so boring, rehashed, and cliché. “5ive Girls” has a great concept to it, with some good names behind it, but it just fails to muster anything memorable or entertaining from the groundwork it lays down before us.

The Initiation of Sarah (2006)

The_Initiation_Of_Sarah_(20ABC Family’s “The Initiation of Sarah” isn’t an awful quasi-horror film, it’s just incredibly weak and bland. It’s never intentionally a very weak film, it’s just so lost in its own attempts to mimic a certain show about yakking women that it can’t find its own niche. What do you expect from a movie whose heroine has sex to prevent from being sacrificed as a virgin? “The Initiation of Sarah” is like a harder edged “Sabrina,” it’s a PG-13 “Suspiria,” and while that’s not always a bad thing, it’s just never interesting enough to warrant my full attention.

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The Covenant (2006)

JamieR-PT__Covenant1-640x36It’s tough being a middle class white muscular young man who has the powers of a god and has blond busty women hanging around him all the time. God, Renny Harlin knows me so well, he knows the youth so well. “The Covenant” is one part “The Lost Boys,” one part “The Craft,” and two parts David DeCouteau with homoerotic undertones, overtones, mid-tones and all. The male cast gaze at one another with evident lust, and sexual tension, the male cast is featured nude in the lockers whipping one another while one mutters “Say my name!” You just have to wonder if DeCouteau had some hand in the creative process.

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Voodoo Moon (2005)

voodoomoonbigOutside of Buffy geeks, I really don’t see what reason you could have for liking “Voodoo Moon”. It’s a limp semi-action fantasy that uses the device of Voodoo as an excuse to expose its superhero, said hero is in the form of Eric Mabius who looks like quasi-Brandon Lee circa 1994. He’s dressed like a Goth, but really is a Voodoo shaman who is forced to fight off an evil entity that killed his mom and dad when he was a child. He enlists the help of his sister, played by Charisma Carpenter, who has a penchant for drawing pictures that foretell the future. And that’s really all she’s good for.

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The Skeleton Key (2005)

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Perhaps I was expecting nothing, because in the end I was truly surprised that “The Skeleton Key” ended up becoming a truly inspired and genuinely creepy supernatural thriller that deserves a chance. Director Iain Softley along with writer Ehren Kruger of past supernatural exploits, creates a rather spooky and all around morbid thriller surround the Louisiana bayous, and its undercoating of hoodoo and religious fanaticism. Much a mixture of “The Serpent and The Rainbow” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, the main character, a heroine of rather innocent background discovers she’s in a web of conspiracy and potentially evil deeds that will decide her life if she’s not careful.

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