Review: Brady Hall’s 7 Witches

I said it once before and I’ll say it again – witchcraft movies have been making a comeback in recent years. And this is single-handedly due to film-makers like Brady Hall and Ed Dougherty forging the way with new and original plots. Whenever people think of witchcraft, they automatically envision pointy hats and bubbling cauldrons, but that’s just a stereotype that’s been forced upon us by Hollywood. Real witchcraft is more secretive, real witchcraft is sacred and tied to the earth. But as with everything in nature, there’s a dark side and a good side. 7 Witches takes some of these elements and combines them into a Hatfields vs. McCoys story-line, where one of the groups doesn’t even know they’re involved in the battle for survival. It may have started as a dispute over land, but maybe there was a reason the concurring party wanted to steal it in the first place. Maybe they were trying to stop something evil.

In 7 Witches, two families rent a gloomy, isolated island that will serve as the location for the wedding of their daughters. The families are getting along better than expected, aside from normal sisterly bickering, but something evil is going on just beyond their eyesight. The weekend they chose to celebrate on the island happens to be the 100 year anniversary of an evil curse and that curse is set to be born again, all at the expense and lives of many of those attending the wedding festivities. When it’s time for the curse to begin, 7 Witches becomes a blood soaked revenge flick that pins old school sorcery against modern feminist willpower. It’s game on in this creepy and subdued feature from writer/director Brady Hall and writer/producer Ed Dougherty. Persephone Apostolou, Danika Kari, Megan Hensley, Macall Gordon, Mike Jones, Rory Ross, Ben Van Dusen, Lorraine Montez and Rod Pilloud star.

7 Witches bares some resemblance to last year’s hit The Witch; not in plot but in cinematic feel. This flick is filled with beautiful shots of nature and scenic wonders, all shrouded in a dark atmosphere filled with despair. The look and feel of this flick are always in contrast with each other, beauty and love being out-shined by vengeance and death. Cinematographer Ryan Purcell gets a lot of credit here for mastering this effect into a wonderful piece of art. 7 Witches feels earthy and primitive and uncertain, which fits in thematically with elements of witchcraft. It’s actually kind of sad to see the good family torn apart during this celebration and that’s just the thing – there’s not a lot of happiness here. Due to the way the movie looks and feels, due to the plot of deceit building against the good characters, this is far from a joyous occasion and 7 Witches isn’t the film you should watch if you’re looking for a happy ending. It’s a dark and stormy bloodbath.

When it comes to elements of horror, that can mostly be chalked up to slow burn feelings of mystery and suspense. It starts with family members discovering runes and strangers vanishing into the sea and you get the feeling that the one family – who ends up being attached to the darkness – is way more than Addam’s Family in nature. They’re got secrets, though those secrets won’t stay hidden for long. I’m happy to say that there are a couple characters stabbed to death throughout the feature film leading up to the climax. When the movie gets to the climax, it’s a twenty minute long game of cat and mouse with blood splattering every couple minutes. I wasn’t expecting this at all because of the reserved nature of 7 Witches up until that point, but I was pleasantly surprised to see so much blood spilled at the end. The action and revenge device definitely spruced up my viewing in an invigorating way.

Expertly produced, well written and fantastically acted, 7 Witches was a cinematic journey filled with many twists and turns. It starts as something so simple and then it gradually adds more and more elements from different genres, brewing into a blood soaked story of revenge. Take that curse! If there’s one movie you see about witchcraft in 2017, it better be 7 Witches! It starts off slow, but it builds into a gory, gratifying thriller. Certainly worth the price of a stream or purchase. And I was happy to see there wasn’t any level of hokiness in regards to the actual witches. Ok, now I’m done. Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)