Director Margaret Malandruccolo and writer/star Lizze Gordon (#Captured) must have watched The Craft a lot. And binged watch Charmed, both versions. Not that that’s a bad thing, but they’ve certainly got their formula down cold. Or should I say hot? Give or take a bit of blood and a few nipples Coven feels like an update of those kinds of hot young witch shows and movies.
Ronnie (Jennifer Cipolla, Body Keepers) is the leader of a coven of campus witches. She and her fellow witches intend to raise the spirit of Ashura, a powerful witch who was defeated by another coven two hundred years ago. Unfortunately during the ritual, Ronnie loses her temper and kills Christy (Sara Stretton). Now they need a new member. Unfortunately, there’s no listing for witches on Craigslist. So she sends Beth (Margot Major, Clown Fear) out to find a new recruit.
Sophie (Lizze Gordon) doesn’t want to join a coven and doesn’t trust Ronnie at all. But her attempts to contact her dead mother with psychic Emily (Sofya Skya) are going nowhere. So she takes a chance. But when Ronnie kills yet another of her disciples, Sophie and Beth are forced to find a way to stop her.
Coven really never takes itself very seriously. Much of the focus seems to be on the women in their underwear. Or in the case of Ronnie’s second in command Jax (Miranda O’Hare, Age of the Living Dead), topless. Sophie at times seems more concerned with bedding James (Adam Horner, Ravenswood) than any of the film’s supernatural goings-on. Toss in endless bitchy comments and you have the cable TV version of one of the CW Network’s occult shows. Even the ending feels like it’s meant to be the start of a franchise.
On the downside, that also means Coven is seriously lacking in blood. Or any kind of a body count for that matter. Anyone expecting real horror or scares will be disappointed. But there is plenty of mindless fun with fairly good CGI and a fairly exciting final showdown. It’s an enjoyable B movie that doesn’t try to do more than keep your attention. And it does a good job of that.
While hardly exploitation on the Doris Wishman or Roberta Findlay level, Coven is a nice reminder that that ladies can make a trashy film just as good as the guys do. It’s actually better than a lot of recent low budget fare.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Coven on DVD and Digital July 14th.