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Review: WICKED WITCHES (2018)

Mark (Duncan Casey, The Accident Man, Weaverfish) has a problem. After his most recent night of drugs and infidelity, his wife has kicked his ass out. He responds by tossing his wedding ring out the car window and heading out to a farm owned by his buddy Ian (Justin Marosa, White Powder) where he used to party hard back in the day.

But things have changed. Ian is acting strange, almost menacing. There’s some weird, Satanic art up on the farmhouse walls. And several young men have gone missing in the area. It couldn’t have anything to do with the girls Mark and some friends want to party with, could it?

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After the likes of Cannibal Farm and Cannibals And Carpet Fitters, you would think people would avoid isolated British farms and manors. But then again, they’re still going hiking in cursed woods, so maybe not. I do know after watching my buddy’s eyes turn into black voids, I’d be leaving, not planning a party. But cocaine is a hell of a drug, and Mark seems to live off of it.

Wicked Witches was filmed for just £15,000, (about $19,000) as The Witches Of Dumpling Farm. The title was changed, I’m guessing because it sounded like a Disney film. Director Martin J Pickering co-wrote the script with his brother Mark. Martin’s experience shooting music and fashion videos allowed him to squeeze a lot more production value out of the budget than you would expect. This includes plenty of practical effects. They’re a bit of a mixed bag, but they are CGI free.

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The script for Wicked Witches, however, leaves a bit to be desired. Mark is not exactly likable, and with no character arc, he stays that way throughout the film. His buddies basically show up long enough to be slaughtered and that’s it. We have zero reasons to care about them. There’s also no real backstory to the witches, or how Ian fell under their power. And, maybe worst of all, despite all the teasing, there’s no nudity.

Running just 75 minutes without credits, Wicked Witches manages to stay just ahead of its problems, even if it never lives up to its potential. There are some jump-scare-filled nightmare sequences at the start, and the last act works up a claustrophobic feel. There are also a few scenes where the axe-wielding Mark channels Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead franchise. Hopefully, next time out, The Pickering Brothers will put a bit more effort into the story. They certainly know how to deliver the visual elements.

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Midnight Releasing will open Wicked Witches theatrically in ten markets beginning August 9. It will also be available on VOD and DVD. You can for updates on Facebook and the film’s website.

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