Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Movie Review: Witchcraft

  Witchcraft is the first of a series of films that has spawned 13 sequels (to date), which included a run from 1990 to 1998 of a sequel being released each year.  Of the series, the first is probably the tamest, with future films evolving into more of an "explotation" type production, focusing on nudity and gore.

 This means that I am disappointed with the first film.

 The film opens with a good old-fashioned Colonial burning-at-the-stake.  The execution makes up cut-scenes interspersed during a sequence where a woman in modern times is giving birth.  The couple being executed was convicted of witchcraft.  This burning scene will be one of the few consistencies in the plot in future films.

 Grace Churchill, who moved from Poland after her mother and father died in a murder-suicide, has landed one of the wealthiest men in the state (John Churchill), and has moved in with his mother in a massive house.  John and his mother are a little ecentric.  While the home is lavishly decored and furnished, some of the rooms are dusty and furnishings are covered with sheets.  Certain rooms and sections of the home are off-limits to Grace.

 Grace begins seeing strange things in the house.  A mirror shows scenes from both the past (like the Colonial executions) and the future.  She finds what she believes is her mother-in-law engaged with two others in some kind of ritual, and sees blood dripping from her mother-in-law's mouth.  Attempts are made to explain these things away; Garce is in a new and unfamiliar environment, her husband is not around much, the stress of having a new baby is affecting her, and she was a former junkie all suggest that she might be just hallucinating. 

 When Grace's Priest shows up to bapitize the new baby, but instead has a vision of flames and becomes ill, Grace becomes convinced that something is not right with her new life.

 While the film gets some credit for its production quality, but the acting and plot leave something to be desired.  I have a feeling that the film is trying to achieve an air of mystery, but suffers from giving away the ending (the film is called Witchcraft so you expect there will be something to do with witches and magic), and being too much like Rosemary's Baby (which, by comparison, does not reveal the key component to its plot in its name).

 The series is known for its erotic-horror, boardering on soft-core porn.  There is no nudity in this film, and not much gore.  Witchcraft had some moderate success when it was released, which probably helped spawn its next sequel and give the production company more freedom to push the limits.

 If you are interested in the series, then you want to start with the first film, which lays some of the foundation for the second.  Most the rest of the series is made up of films that stand on their own.

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