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Review: The Pickering Brothers’ “Wicked Witches” (Another Hit for Midnight Releasing)

On August 9th 2019, Midnight Releasing is debuting Wicked Witches on DVD and digital platforms as well as in select theaters across the country. While this may seem like a small blip in the horror world, I had the opportunity to watch and review the new movie from Mark and Martin Pickering, and I can say without a doubt that it is another hit for Midnight Releasing and the type of story best experienced in front of the big screen. Set among the beautiful English countryside, Wicked Witches finds a recently separated young man, Mark, as he finds a couch to crash on in the comforts of his childhood friend’s home. His old buddy, Ian, acts strangely upon arrival, but with no where else to go, Mark settles in and begins experiencing odd events and unrelenting nightmares of beautiful women who feed on his flesh. Still putting his psychological well-being on the back-burner, Mark and Ian throw a bonfire party on the property, which further unleashes the power of demonic witches who wish to consume their souls. Written and directed by Mark and Martin Pickering, Wicked Witches stars Duncan Casey, Justin Marosa, Kitt Alexander Proudfoot, Samantha Schnitzler, Jasmine Clark and Laura Coleman.

For starters, I was immediately struck by how beautiful this film looks. After reviewing dozens of movies from England, I have to say that the English countryside looks more enchanting than the country’s national monuments, and it’s also the perfect destination for a more primal story like Wicked Witches. So many forests, trails, rural pit-stops and old buildings paint a masterpiece to dash in blood, gore and suspense. What further boosts the visual appeal of this movie is the cinematography by Martin Pickering. I counted half a dozen shots that were award winning quality and made me pause my computer screener to marvel in the stunning artistry of it all. This is exactly how you make your film look like a big Hollywood release – find a capable cinematographer who can bring your mood to life. With post-production editing by Martin and Mark, Wicked Witches is easily one of the best looking horror films of 2019. This is why I think you should see it in theaters starting August 9th 2019; the picture quality is too good to waste on a digital stream. Plus, there’s a very obvious Blair Witch Project homage that will instantly throw you back to the 1990s.

Wicked Witches was produced from a very clever story. First, I enjoyed that Ian was weird and uncomfortable from the start, but he’s really only a secondary villain in the grand scheme of things. Second, I loved that the witches took the form of every woman Mark saw while out and about, and appeared in his dreams to murder him when it seems like the events may turn romantic. This was the perfect way of capturing infidelity and giving it the right personification. Of course, this could also have been a manifestation of Mark’s self loathing and anger towards his wife after their break-up. However, as soon as the big massacre happens near the end, I think you’re going to realize that these themes are only at play for cinematic effect, and that the witches are ready to ride and slaughter and enact their sinister plan. And oh, how I loved the witches. Whoever designed the characters and applied their make-up needs a round of applause, too. The witches look dirty and slightly animalistic, but they’re far from hokey and they aren’t the offspring of bad CGI effects (which are typical used in indie horror film). The new generation of horror fans need to discover the joys of evil witches and they need to see them just like the ones here!

I can’t rave about this movie enough, and I can’t find a single thing to criticize. Duncan Casey was the perfect fit for the role, masculine yet capable of showing a wide range of emotions. The timing was great, falling back and ramping up at the right moments. Everything was just… perfect (I know I’ve said that a lot). Age old sins are personified in Wicked Witches, a startling and stunning title and a sinister cautionary tale. An unsuspecting, unrelenting surprise! Final Score: 10 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)