Review: COVEN OF EVIL (2018)
When you think of witches, Salem probably comes to mind. But when you think about witches in entertainment, it’s probably in a British setting. From Macbeth to Horror Hotel and Night of the Eagle (Burn, Witch, Burn in the US) to Terror and the Harry Potter franchise it’s a long tradition. To that, we can add writer/director Matthew J. Lawrence’s (Tied In Blood) Coven of Evil.
Joe (John Thacker) has just written an article on modern-day witches. This doesn’t sit well with the local coven, who don’t like the way they’re portrayed. So Evie (Samantha Moorhouse) turns up on his doorstep to both bitch at him and invite him out to see how they really live. Like an idiot, he accepts.
Once there, he finds himself in the middle of some odd goings-on and the odd bit of catty behaviour. But he seems to be getting plenty of attention from the coven’s female members. He also meets a young woman named Alice (Laura Peterson, B Negative) who he begins to believe is being held against her will. Can he save her without losing his own life, or worse, his soul?
Coven of Evil spends its first hour or so playing head games with the audience. What exactly is going on? Has Joe been drugged and is simply dreaming, or are the rituals real? And most importantly, who is Alice? And why does the Zander (Craig R. Mellor) keep taking his belt to her?
Unfortunately, despite what looks like the Hindu Goddess Kali on the poster, the budget doesn’t run to demonic creatures. So this is all done in a rather talky and obvious manner. The film’s prologue pretty much gives everything away, the rest is just a matter of connecting the dots. If they’d pushed some of the film’s more exploitable points, Coven of Evil might have been enjoyable in an updated Virgin Witch kind of way. Failing that, cutting some of the endless chatter would have helped, at an hour and forty minutes the film runs slow.
It does pick up for a bit towards the end and even managed a couple of surprises. It’s a bit too little too late, though. And then an inevitable epilogue manages to ruin even that bit of enjoyment. Coven of Evil is the director’s second feature, but he’s done six shorts as well. I have to wonder if he lost himself trying to expand what would have made an OK 30-minute film to feature-length.
Coven of Evil is available to stream. You can check the film’s Facebook page and website for more information. But honestly, you would probably be better off with something like The Blood on Satan’s Claw, or even Hex.