Premiering on ARROW this week is ‘Two Witches’, the feature debut from director and co-writer Pierre Tsigaridis, which pays loving homage to the occult anthology films of the 60s and 70s. If you’re in the mood for a bit of daft black magic fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this gruesome, funny, and creepy horror could be the perfect addition to your spooky season watch list.
Split into three parts, with a thin membrane of connective tissue between them, the film kicks off with ‘The Boogeywoman’ which finds pregnant Sarah (Belle Adams) being haunted by an evil hag who has latched on to her. A visit to some friends where she shares her fears, leads to an extremely ill-advised game on a Ouija board, unleashing dark forces on Sarah and her friends.
The second chapter, as well as the epilogue, focus on Masha (Rebekah Kennedy) who is beginning to inherit the witchcraft powers of her grandmother who has recently died. This is extremely bad news for her roommate Rachel, played by co-writer Kristina Klebe. This second chapter doesn’t really go anywhere, and then segues straight into the epilogue which serves up a perplexing (if delightfully bonkers) ending.
Back to the beginning though and ’Two Witches’ gets off to a very shaky start. The opening few scenes feel somewhat amateurish, and have none of the confidence and spark that Tsigaridis shows later on when orchestrating the occult mayhem. There’s also a very ‘first draft’ feel to the dialogue, which sounds stilted and awkward, and the early scares are massively telegraphed.
Once it gets going however, there are pleasures to be had here. In the first chapter especially, there are a few really fun moments, where the creepy vibes and amped up gore combine to great effect. The production design and atmospheric lighting are terrific, and very much in keeping with the vintage homage the filmmakers are going for. Rebekah Kennedy is also a lot of fun, and her committed and hysterically pitched performance is destined for cult status.
There are moments throughout the film where the atmosphere starts to build, and you can begin to feel icy fingers running up your spine, and the potential for something truly terrifying is right there. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t commit, and relies far too heavily on cattle prod jump scares. It also undercuts the tension almost every time it manages to build it, with chaotic editing and tonal silliness. Some of the goofy faces the witches make are extremely funny, whether intentional or not.
It’s entertaining enough for 98 minutes, and if you’re in the right mood, it will probably give you a couple of good scares. But the lack of storytelling focus really hinders it in the second half. The end credits hint at future outings for these characters. If that is the case, I hope they keep the style, but just add a bit more substance.
Cast: Rebekah Kennedy, Belle Adams, Kristina Klebe, Tim Fox Director: Pierre Tsigaridis Writer: Kristina Klebe, Maxime Rancon, Pierre Tsigaridis Released By: ARROW Certificate: 18 Duration: 98 mins Release Date: 1st October 2022