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Home > Pyewacket (2017): A Review

Pyewacket (2017): A Review

Pyewacket

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Canadian writer/director Adam MacDonald follows his blood-soaked horror Backcountry (2014) with a tale of witchcraft and terror set in a small New England town. Produced by JoBro Productions’ Jonathan Bronfman (Stockholm) and Victoria Sanchez (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), Pyewacket stars Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead, The Boys) as Mrs. Reyes. Nicole Muñoz (Van Helsing) stars as her daughter, Leah Reyes, and Chloe Rose (Teenagers) plays a friend Janice. Acclaimed Canadian actor James McGowen (Murdoch Mysteries) stars as an occult author and expert Rowan Dove.

Pyewacket uses the old adage, “be careful what you wish for,” as a tagline to introduce the horror mystery. The story centers around a frustrated high school girl who evokes an ancient and insidious evil when she naively performs a magical ritual to kill her mother. But the film is not just another teen (or twenty-something) angst story. Instead, it is a story of the folly of desperation when pushed one step too far. 

Like her mother, teenager Leah Reyes quietly suffers through her depressed alcoholic father’s death. But instead of wallowing in grief, she is frustrated at her mother, who can’t come to terms with her husband’s death. Leah’s frustration turns to fury when her mother announces their move to a small town. Once there, Leah Reyes and her new friends whisper about sorcery and conjuring, encouraging the teen’s interest. 

Her curiosity piqued, Leah discovers a newly published book of rituals and spells and is exhilarated – finding new power in her interest in the occult and potential brush with evil. Finally pushed to the limit by her mother, situation, and surroundings, the young girl conjures the ancient witch to take her mother away. But once summoned, evil can not be unsummoned. Even the book’s author warns the girl of the supernatural imp’s dark and manipulative nature. Surprisingly, when Leah reveals her actions, her friends are wholly unsupportive. Left to her own devices, the paranoid teen takes desperate action.

Pyewacket

Pyewacket‘s pace is slow and steady as every drum beat, jump scare, cups of blood, and macabre horror convention is stirred into the pot. The heady recipe of death, loss, fury, and intergenerational tension is a toxic combination – providing relatable drama and drawing the audience into the story. 

Pyewacket‘s strength is the inevitability of evil. In fact, it is the driving force of the film. And the idea that provides the most chill is that the witch Pyewacket, once evoked, will manipulate her summoner through the most innocent deceits. MacDonald’s use of uncertainty instead of manufactured twists creates a scary ride that draws and quarters the audience’s emotions.

The cast is strong – giving believable performances. Holden is stellar as an absent mother, while James McGowen’s character, Rowen Dove, is used effectively as a foil to deftly back-fill the storyline. Munoz provides just enough relatable teen brattiness without evoking the desire to roll one’s eyes or send her to her room. 

Technically the film is flawless. Pyewacket was filmed in Ontario, Canada, by experienced cinematographer Christian Bielz who also worked with McDonald on Backcountry (2014). Bielz brings a wealth of horror experience in both television and cinema to the project.

The film’s name is drawn from a 1647 British pamphlet, “The Discovery of Witches.” Even with the historical tie, the movie’s worldwide gross was less than stellar, $166,610. However, since the North American release in March 2018, Pyewacket has developed a solid fan base. 

Grab the popcorn, a heavy blanket to hide under, and definitely turn off the lights for this 90-minute emersion into terror. You can turn on the nightlight when you go to sleep. 

Pyewacket is available for on-demand viewing.

Pyewacket

Pyewacket (2017) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Writer at Dead Talk News | +1 (650) 308-4023 | austxfilms@gmail.com | Posts

Writer - Dead Talk News