Witchcraft and the occult have proved a powerful attraction to thousands of dissatisfied, lonely and disenfranchised teens for generations. Whilst Wiccans and practitioners of witchcraft have been stigmatised, demonised and persecuted for centuries. A Pyewacket is a witch’s familiar spirit. They’ve occasionally appeared in popular culture, most notably in Richard Quine’s 1958 film Bell, Book and Candle. In Adam MacDonald’s new film Pyewacket, there’s evil lurking in the woods.
Leah (Nicole Muñoz) is a frustrated and angst-ridden teenage girl, who has turned to the occult as a way of dealing with her father’s death. She shares this interest with her friends Janice (Chloe Rose), Aaron (Eric Osborn) and Rob (Romeo Carere). Her mother (Laurie Holden) is a complete mess who is not coping at all with the loss. When she decides to move them north for a new start, Leah is beside herself with anger. In a rage, she places a death curse on her mother. Despite instantly regretting her actions, Leah has awoken something old and evil.
Pyewacket is a rather unobtrusive horror which takes its time to set the scene before delivering a creepy and disorientating finale. Given the lack of budget at his disposal, it’s impressive how MacDonald is able to conjure up such an unnerving atmosphere. The casting feels right and the dramatic elements are handled cleverly. However, it is slight in many ways and does take its time building up character, which won’t please some genre fans. Pyewacker is a disturbing cautionary tale about dabbling in the dark arts and being careful about what you wish for.
Pyewacket is screening at Glasgow FrightFest on 3 March & will be released on Digital HD on 16 April and DVD on 23 April.