Fantasia Festival Review: The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

Over the centuries, men have found myriad ingenious ways to control and oppress women. Look at almost every major world religion and look at the gender roles and requirements placed on each sex. One of man’s greatest ignominies is the accusation of witchcraft. A cunning and clever way to persecute any female who rejects them or doesn’t do as they’re told. Or even, has the audacity to have their own opinions. Although, in the case of The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw, they were actually right.

Agatha Earnshaw (Catherine Walker) lives in a pious rural and isolated community. She has always kept herself apart from the suspicious townsfolk. However, seventeen years ago, she gave birth to her daughter Audrey (Jessica Reynolds). A fact she has kept secret due to the circumstances of the birth. The pair have lived in seclusion, covertly practicing the occult, ever since. With crops failing to an unknown blight, apart from on the Earnshaw holding, the community becomes increasingly hostile. Meanwhile, Audrey is beginning to test the bounds of control.

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is an intelligent folk horror which is steeped in eerie atmosphere and period tension. The detail and effects are impressive, as is the creative eye of director Thomas Robert Lee. As the dominant/submissive relationship between mother and daughter rapidly unravels, the walls that Agatha has built up around them begin to crumble. The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw proves that Hell hath no fury like a witch slighted.

The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw screened at Fantasia Festival.

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