Witch (2024) Review by Steve Kirkham

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WITCH (2024)

3 stars
101 Films. Digital 29th April

Set in a small town in England in 1575, this British folk horror starts somewhat confusingly with scenes of some kind of possibly satanic ceremony that will eventually make sense. They feature several key characters including an older, bearded, hooded man, who will figure in the ensuing plot.

It then spins back four days to the crux of the story. William (Ryan Spong) is a pillar of the community and the local blacksmith. He lives with his wife Twyla (Sarah Alexandra Marks) on the the outskirts of the enclave. She is plagued with a nightmarish vision of a young bloodied girl, staggering into the town, holding two heads… having murdered her parents! She soon learns, to her horror, that this actually happened.

Judge Hopkins (ooh, I wonder which character that name is supposed to evoke), oversees the community and is on a mission to rid it of sin. He brings the murderous young lady to trial and as it is drawing to a close she accuses Twyla of being a witch.

Her husband William must now work with the mysterious man from the opening scenes to try and free his beloved and prove her innocence.

With variable acting and often clunky interchanges, this is brought up a notch by the authentic looking locations used – the film was shot predominantly in Hungary (though the credits also mention a scout activity centre in the UK).

About halfway through, in overly dialogue heavy scenes with much babble about demonic forces and traversing the underworld, the plot takes a turn to the left and tips into science fictional ideas.

Directed by Craig Hinde and Marc Zammit, both of whom have worked in various capacities on a lot of smaller budget movies, the duo have at least tried to come up with something different within the well worn witchcraft tale — sadly they failed to impress. It’s all a bit po-faced and the over use of dry ice is no substitute for actual atmosphere.

There is a mid credits sequence which points to – perhaps optimistically – a potential sequel.

Steve Kirkham