For the second time in a matter of days, I’m reviewing a short made without traditional dialogue. Yesterday it was Bella in the Wych Elm. Today it’s Wicca Book a twenty-two-minute film from writer/director Vahagn Karapetyan, an Armenian filmmaker based in Greece.
Wicca Book actually takes things a step farther than Bella in the Wych Elm did. While it had a narrator, Karapetyan’s film has no dialogue at all. It’s not a silent film, it has like 3 Dead Trick or Treaters it has background sounds and effects, just no dialogue. Which means you really have to pay attention because everything is told visually.
A man (Christos Diamantoudis) hears a knock at his door one night. Opening it he finds a wrapped package with a note saying “It’s Yours”. “It” being the creepy-looking Wicca Book that gives the film its title. As soon as he starts looking through it strange things begin to happen. He tries to destroy it but learns the hard way that wasn’t a good idea.
From there the book falls into the hands of Mia (Kika Zachariadou, Refuge II: The Ice Path) who finds it while exploring a cave. Once she realizes its true nature she tries returning it to where she found it.
Comprised of three episodes of a web series edited together the transitions between the segments feels a bit abrupt and choppy. But that’s really the only major complaint I have about Wicca Book. Karapetyan keeps the plot simple enough that it is easy to understand without dialogue, but not so simple that it’s insulting to the viewer’s intelligence either.
Wicca Book is beautifully shot and quite atmospheric. The influence of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy is quite obvious, but it’s well used and suits the material nicely. The book itself resembles something out of The Evil Dead more so than Suspiria with its bound in human skin look. Its interior illustrations however are nicely done and the Satanic messages in red ink make a nice touch.