Witches of Amityville Academy? Amityville has been linked to everything else, so why not witches? Director Rebecca Matthews (The Candy Witch, Pet Graveyard) and writer Tom Jolliffe (Scarecrow’s Revenge, Tooth Fairy: The Root of Evil) must have thought the same thing. Of course, there’s no connection to the Lutz residence, however, that’s pretty much par for the course these days. Shot in England under the title Witch-Craft, it also doesn’t look anything like Long Island, although we should be used to that too. At least they did a reasonably good job of hiding the British accents.
Jessica (Sarah T. Cohen, Cupid, The Mutation) has gotten an unexpected acceptance letter from Amityville Academy. Unexpected because she never applied there in the first place. That doesn’t stop her from accepting. On her first night there she and Sally (Georgina Jane, Don’t Speak, Virtual Death Match) the other new girl find themselves tied up and prepared to be sacrificed by Dominque (Amanda-Jade Tyler, The Watcher 2, Bats). She escapes, the other girl isn’t so lucky and gets her throat cut and her blood drained.
She’s rescued by the Belle Witches, Sam (Kira Reed Lorsch, Acts of Desperation, Chained Heat 2001: Slave Lovers), Ellena (Brittan Taylor, Space Girls in Beverly Hills) and Lucy (Donna Spangler, Dinosaur Valley Girls, American Poltergeist). They inform her that Dominque and her coven intend to raise the demon Boris. Excuse me, Botis (Toby Wynn-Davies, Nefarious, Cannibal Farm). As we know, Boris has already been unleashed on the British people. Jessica is going to have to learn to use her previously hidden powers if they’re to be stopped.
Witches of Amityville Academy has a decent enough, if well used, story. And while an almost entirely female cast is common in cable TV horror-themed skin flicks it’s a rarity in actual horror films. Ironically enough several of the cast have careers that started in softcore and T&A comedies. In any case, it does make a nice change, even if nothing much is done with it.
There are also some nicely done effects, such as a throat-slitting and the demon itself. But the magic battles were mostly women waving their hands and cartoonish bolts of energy flying around. Or worse yet, just staring at each other trying to look fierce.
After the enjoyably nasty tone of The Candy Witch, I had hoped Matthews and Proportion Pictures had grown a set and were going to keep delivering solid, bloody horror films. Writer Tom Jolliffe’s Tooth Fairy: The Root of Evil, while not for Proportion, certainly had its moments in that regard even if it wasn’t totally successful. Unfortunately, Witches of Amityville Academy is rather tepid and tame, apart from that slit throat this could probably get a PG-13. The somewhat similar Coven at least balanced out its lack of a body count or gore with skin and a fair amount of fast-paced action.
I also had issues with the acting and locations. Again, I understand the budget was low and they couldn’t afford to film in creepy old houses. And the attempt to portray modern witches, not as something out of The Addams Family but someone who could be our neighbours was a nice idea. However, the lack of atmosphere coupled with some bad performances hurts the film.
If it could have worked up some atmosphere and the cast sold me on the plot, Witches of Amityville Academy could still have still held my interest. As it is, it’s acceptable filler, something to watch when you can’t pay full attention. Witches of Amityville Academy is currently in release in the UK from High Flier. ITN released it to digital in the US as Amityville Witches. A DVD will be available on December 1st.