Via Grindhouse Theology-Our Holy Book is a Horror Story: A Reflection on Christians and Horror Films [Chris]

I have been a fan of horror films since I was a young kid. If memory serves me correctly, the first horror film I ever saw was The Exorcist. It seemed to me, even then, there was something more here, something which allowed for further exploration. Even as a young kid, albeit in a very […]

via [Chris] Our Holy Book is a Horror Story: A Reflection on Christians and Horror Films — Grindhouse Theology

Via Horror Writers Association Blog-Horror and Halloween in Singapore by Christina Sng

When you grow up in a haunted house, you expect to see something supernatural at some point, especially when an aunt claims to have heard chains dragging along the hallway and another family member allegedly saw ghosts. But my skepticism grew up with me when I saw nothing. Not even a moving shadow. It was terribly…

via Horror and Halloween in Singapore by Christina Sng — Horror Writers Association Blog

The Nun (2018) — B&S About Movies

The Nun is the fifth movie in The Conjuring Universe, which are dramatizations of the real-life cases of paranormal investigators and authors Ed and Lorraine Warren. As the true story of the Warrens gets controversial* — Ed Warren has been accused of having had a lover live in their house for four decades, starting when she […]

via The Nun (2018) — B&S About Movies

Via Grindhouse Theology [Fred] Father of the Corn, But Not of the Year: Stephen King’s “1922”

What’s with you and corn, Stephen King? You got something against grains when they’re especially tall? In 1922, a movie from 2017 based on a novella by Stephen King, a farmer spends a lot of time in his corn field. Doing weird stuff. Were this Children of the Corn, you would know what I mean […]

via [Fred] Father of the Corn, But Not of the Year: Stephen King’s “1922” — Grindhouse Theology

F&S Review – What You Don’t See Can Hurt You in PYEWACKET

[Photography by Melissa Connors. Images Courtesy of IFC Midnight]

PYEWACKET (2018)
Directed and written by Adam MacDonald 
An IFC Midnight release

A mother and daughter united – and torn apart – by loss.

A group of friends fascinated by the occult – until one of them takes an unimaginable step.

A shadowy presence summoned by words that can’t be unspoken and actions that can’t be undone.

After the death of her father, Leah Reyes (Nicole Muñoz) is dragged to a new home by her mother (Laurie Holden). Separated from her old life, Leah takes refuge in intense music and dark magic. As her resentment builds against her mother, Leah’s interest in otherworldly forces takes a dark – and deadly – turn.
In Pyewacket (IFC Midnight), writer-director Adam MacDonald blends Teens Messing with the Supernatural (The Craft 1996, Ouija 2014), Be Careful What You Wish For (Wish Upon 2017, The Monkeys’ Paw 1902), Trying to Escape/Undo a Curse (Drag Me to Hell 2009, Casting the Runes 1911), adds a heaping helping of Mother-Daughter Conflict (Terms of Endearment 1983), then mixes them together in a Cabin In the Woods (2011).
Out of these familiar elements, Pyewacket delivers a slow-burn story that twists from suspense to unimaginable tragedy. Aside from a few jump scares, it relies on fear of the unseen to creep out the viewer.  Fear of what we might see in the shadows and the inability to trust that what we see is real plagues both the viewer and the characters.
After Leah makes a rash, fateful choice, there is not a lull, but rather a carefully calibrated sequence of scenes where nothing overtly bad happens, but which nevertheless  made me nervous and worried for the characters. Pyewacket allows the spaces between the scares to hum with tension and dread. As the movie progressed I found myself waiting and worrying for Leah, her friends, and her mom.

 

Pyewacket Leah in Mall
Apparently the malls in Leah’s new hometown aren’t doing so well, either.

For all the Heavy Metal/Witchcraft trappings around Leah and her friends, it is the verbal curse Leah utters towards her mother that feels like the most violent act in Pyewacket. Seeing her break the taboo of saying the unforgivable out loud to her only remaining parent feels more transgressive and unforgiveable than her black magic ceremonies in the woods.
I would’ve appreciated a bit more information about Pyewacket itself, if only to know why Leah chooses that word for her woodland ceremony. The various occult books she pages through beforehand offer a brief glimpse of witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, but nothing I could see about Pyewacket (if you’d like to find out a bit more, check here). On the other hand, NOT having this information made me very uneasy; NOT knowing what might be coming had me looking in every shadow.
This uncertainty also works in two of the most effective scenes in the movie. Leah’s friend Janice encounters … something … staying overnight at Leah’s new home. Whatever happens to her sends her fleeing in panic and into a near catatonic state. When Leah confronts her mother at the movie’s end, neither we – nor Leah herself – can be sure of who (or what) she is facing.
Pyewacket features a strong supporting cast that helps create a believable setting for the fantastical story. Eric Osborne and Romeo Carere as her friends Aaron and Rob, along with James McGowan as paranormal writer Rowan Dove feature in the “real world” while Bianca Melchior brings Pyewacket to life (or unlife).
Like Thomasin in The Witch (2015), Leah learns that the woods are unlovely, dark, and deep; and that some choices have a very steep cost.

 

 

Pyewacket teens
It’s just like BREAKFAST CLUB, but with witchcraft and fatalities.

Pyewacket will be available in theaters and on demand March 23. Visit IFC Midnight for more information.