Wicked Witches (2019)


Looking for somewhere to live, after being thrown out of the house by his wife for “putting it about a bit,” Mark Griffith (Duncan Casey) happens upon a newspaper ad advertising a room for rent at a local farm. Having previously lived there years earlier, Mark immediately recognises the name of both the farm and the owner.

What’s Wrong with Ian?

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Screen Capture: Justin Marosa as Ian Pickering in the Martin J Pickering directed ‘Wicked Witches.’

We can see there is something off about Ian Pickering (Justin Marosa) from the first moment he appears on the screen. Ian is behaving weirdly. This is not the Ian Mark once knew.

Mark is just looking for a room to rent while he gets his life in order. He is not looking for drama. When Mark arrives on the farm, there is a distinct unease in the air. Ian is chopping wood out back and does not hear Mark approaching. Initially, possibly a result of his condition, Ian does not recognise his old friend.

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Screen Capture: Justin Marosa and Samantha Schnitzler as Ian Pickering and the High Priestess, respectively, in the Martin J Pickering directed ‘Wicked Witches.’

What’s for Breakfast?

With only a single drag on a spliff, perhaps because Mark has not smoked pot in years, the drug immediately takes effect on his senses. Ian’s laughter, especially considering with the loud music, seriously freaks Mark out. As Mark goes to open a door, Ian stops him and tells him that that door is off-limits. Ian seems positively angry. For much of the film, the farm owner’s default mood seems one of anger.

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Screen Capture: Taken from the Martin J Pickering directed ‘Wicked Witches.’

A party reunites Ian and Mark with pals (Robin Sturgess, Ben Daft, David-George Mackintosh, Harry Sorenson, Steven Erickson, Richard Inman, Mark Ayling, and Martin J. Pickering) they have not seen in years. Vast amounts of alcohol and drugs provide the High Priestess (Samantha Schnitzler) and her coven of witches (Jasmine Clark, Laura Coleman, Terri Bird, Emily Pickering, Yasmin Olds, Alice Christine Moy, and Catherine Harding) with helpless victims. The morning after, with the party-goers either high and or hungover from the night before, finds the witches ready to feast. With an appetite for human flesh, the witches made the party-goers breakfast, literally.

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Wicked Witches. Image Credit: IMDb.com

Wicked Witches will hit select movie theaters on Friday, 9 August 2019. The production will also be available on VOD and DVD.

What Mark Saw in His Dream?

The Pickering Brothers bring to the screen a bloodcurdling tale which will satisfy anyone’s hunger with a heavily sinister edge. Martin J Pickering, in addition to co-writing the screenplay with brother Mark Pickering, was the director, producer and cinematographer on this production. Wicked Witches, originally titled The Witches of Dumpling Farm, is very much an independent film with an independent vibe. The production draws strength from utilising a limited number of locations so that it makes the lead character seem isolated. The camera work, inclusive of several aerial shots, draw the audience’s attention closer to the drama. The lighting, especially with the cave scenes, give the production that perfect atmospheric vibe which resonates with horror fans.

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Screen Capture: Jasmin Clark as the Clan Sage in the Martin J Pickering directed ‘Wicked Witches.’

When thinking of witchcraft and films that revolve around such subject matter, the productions that immediately spring to mind are Black Sunday (1960), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Suspiria (1977), Hocus Pocus (1993), and The Witch (2016). We can now add Wicked Witches to that ever growing list of productions. With the Wicked Witches, we are talking full-on horror with an updated twist. The intensity of the production is positively terrifying.

Hints of Classic British Horror…

An aspect of the production in its favour is that it is not a Hollywood production filled with tedious over the top CGI, but there is plenty of special effects which add weight to the horror. Much of what we see, coupled with hints of An American Werewolf in London and possibly The Wicker Man (the 1973 original not the 2006 remake), pays homage to the classic Hammer Films.

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Screen Capture: Duncan Casey as Mark Griffith in the Martin J Pickering directed ‘Wicked Witches.’

Duncan Casey, recently seen in the western A Fistful of Lead, plays the lead character. People familiar with the British soap operas EastEnders and Emmerdale will recall the Bahamas born actor having respectively played Dr Gary McLaughlin and George.

In the end, the narrative does not afford Mark to escape the witches. With Ian no dead and Mark tied to a bed, there are possibilities for a sequel. Do the witches want Mark for their mid-day meal or do they have something else in mind?