Friday, September 30, 2022

It Takes Two to Witchcraft: Two Witches (2021) Review

Director: Pierre Tsigaridis

Notable Cast: Belle Adams, Rebekah Kennedy, Tim Fox, Clint Glenn Hummel, Danielle Kennedy, Kristina Klebe, Dina Silva, Ian Michaels, Lindsey Rose Naves, Julien Marlon Samani


When the new Blu-Ray disc of Two Witches loaded up on my screen, the montage of videos accompanying the menu had a flair that immediately caught my eye. Arrow Video has been nabbing some intriguing titles lately in terms of more modern and obscure genre material, including films like Sleep or The Deeper You Dig. Still, Two Witches was a title that had never crossed my path. Judging a book by its cover or, more accurately, a film by its menu, this one had already perked my interest. 


Fortunately, the film matches the menu. 


Two Witches is a horrific delight. It’s a film that combines its creepy moments with a stylish offbeat combination of visual punches and manages to balance its world-building to be both unnerving and often humorous. Its tone could feel a bit combative for some viewers, but it takes some wild swings and connects on most… which is impressive for a directorial debut. 


Although the film only clocks in at just over 90 minutes, Two Witches is paced in such an intriguing way in its narrative structure and how it unravels its tale. It’s split into two halves which constitute two “stories” with separate protagonists (and the two titular witches). The first circles around a young couple and their interaction with an old woman who has possibly hexed the young lady as they head out to a friend’s house while the second looks at the odd relationship between two roommates when one of them suddenly finds herself with some witchcraft-like powers. 


Both stories have their merits, from their often-quirky dark humor to their interesting character interactions around some witchy events. Both tales retain the same style as a cohesive fabric between the two. It’s a style that is a sly blend of old-school 70s Italian exploitation, think of the subdued and atmospheric side of Lucio Fulci, and that clever line run of humor and horror of Sam Raimi. And it’s this style that inherently carries the film through its vaguer supernatural elements and the more challenging choices of its structure. From the offbeat mugging that characters do while under/performance witchcraft or the manner that the camera uses its steady hand or wild visual flairs, Two Witches pulls it all off with a sense of energetic and terrifyingly creative bliss. 


It’s the structure that might throw off most viewers. When the first story ends, it is abrupt, and if you’re not ready for the jump, then it’s a bit of a jolt. For those who want an anthology of sorts, it will suffice in some ways, but it’s not quite an anthology as one might expect as threads from the first story start to weave into the second. 


It is smartly constructed though and the manner that the stories are told is thoroughly engaging to create a sense of cohesion through the two different stories. The characters prove to be intriguing enough to keep the audience hooked, although the performances from both Belle Adams and Rebekah Kennedy tend to steal the film as the more layered and robust ones, and there is a lot of fun to be had in some of the awkward ways that the dialogue, visuals, and narrative intertwine. In particular, the setup of two recurring characters in the two halves is fun and leads to a fantastic payoff. Unexpected, but delightful in its execution. 


For those looking for some Halloween seasonal horror to kick off the year right, then Two Witches is definitely the best way to kick it off. It’s smartly written, featuring some fantastic performances for protagonists and some silly/creepy performances from the witches, and the visual pizzazz provided by director Pierre Tsigaridis is the perfect modernization of styles from decades past. The tone may not hit for every viewer, particularly in how Two Witches manages to embed its humor and horror together, but it’s essential seasonal tone setting for Halloween. 


Don’t skip out on Two Witches as it’s concocting the best kind of horror brew. 


Written By Matt Reifschneider

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