Tag Archives: Witchcraft

Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

The movie The Conjuring is a tale of horror revolving around witchcraft and its attendant evil. Well, that’s how the movie tries to come across; the problem is, of course, that witchcraft as understood by most Wiccans has nothing to do with Satan and is not evil. That said, this movie is supposed to be based on a true story. And in this story, the witch in question sacrifices her young baby to “Satan,” (whether or not it was actually Satan or a misunderstanding of the Wiccan horned god, I don’t know) and after her own death goes about forcing other mothers to do the same. Hence, this particular witch—supposedly based on a true account—clearly is/was evil regardless of the religion she practiced or how one understands said religion. Well, enough of a digression into comparative religion and moral philosophy :), on with the movie …

 

This film tells the story of the Perrons, a family who recently moved into a house that is haunted by a dark presence (the aforementioned evil witch, to be precise). They are so terrorized they call on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed and Lorraine Warren are actually quite famous in paranormal circles. As I said, the film is supposed to be based on a true account. The Perrons experience the whole bevy of demonic harassments. It begins with simple things: an occasional unexplainable sound, clocks stopping, and similar such things. It progresses to people being awoken by something pulling on their legs, to being attacked by ghostly apparitions and ghost-propelled objects. It culminates in a possession and an attempted murder.

 

Strengths: this movie held my attention from the very beginning. It was not your typical hacker/slasher horror movie filled with people being slain left and right. I won’t tell you how many people actually died in the film, because that would ruin the surprise (it is a very low number—I’ll tell you that much). The low death toll is actually a strength in my opinion; the movie got its scares without killing people … and it did a good job at that. It had all the potential of the movie Sinister, but it delivered because it didn’t end in a blood bath. Weaknesses: My one and only complaint was the over dramatization of the special effects in the end. As the movie reached its climax, so did the use of special effects. And if paranormal events involved such phenomena to such a degree in real life, I don’t think anyone would question their reality. But I guess that’s just Hollywood, dressing up the truth to better compete in the marketplace. Other than that, I don’t think there were any weaknesses.

 

I’ll give the movie The Conjuring four out of five stars.

Movie Review: The Evil Dead (2013)

Every once in a while I get a hankering to go see a horror movie. “The Evil Dead” was still in theatres this past week, so I went to it. It was a short film, only ninety or so minutes, but they crammed as much blood and guts into that movie as they could manage. Once upon a time, these types of movies might actually frighten me. Nowadays, they are lucky if they garner a startled jump on my part.

 

Anyway, the movie is about five friends who go on retreat into an old run-down cabin in the woods. One of them has a drug addiction problem, and the others are trying to get her to quit cold turkey. It’s an intervention. Basically, the plan is to keep her secluded away from civilization until she can straighten out. But things soon take a turn toward the worse when they find the basement of the cabin. It is filled with hanging dead cats, and stinks to high heaven. It is also the resting place of a sinister book. One of the friends, curious, opens the book without the others knowing of it. From the looks of things, it appears to be a book of witchcraft of some kind (the old medieval Satan-worshipping type of witchcraft, not modern day wicca). Then, ignoring all the scribbled warnings on the inside pages of the book, he makes a rubbing of several words and reads them, like a prayer. This, of course, invokes the evil of the book. One of the friends becomes possessed by a demon from the woods and all hell quickly breaks loose. One by one the friends are eliminated in gruesome, graphic, detail until only one remains to fight for survival.

 

Strengths: well, the movie did get me to jump a couple times, but I wouldn’t say I was ever really frightened. The plot held together well. There weren’t any logical flaws, assuming you can accept the basic premise. Weaknesses: well, it may have been a horror movie, but it seemed to rely too much on gore for my tastes. It wasn’t overly clever, or anything, it was just, eww, we’ll have this sharp metal thingy go in here, and cut off this, etc… etc… But hey, if you are into that stuff (for movies, of course) this might be up your alley.

 

Overall, I’ll give this movie three stars out of five.

Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

I’m sure most of us have been exposed to the story of Hansel and Gretel at some point in our lives: the movie “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” builds on the original fairy tale by following the adventures of the brother and sister as adults. They have grown into, not surprisingly, witch hunters, bent on revenge for the wrongs done to them in that old house made of candy (yes, the candy house is in the movie). They have grown into the foremost experts on hunting down and killing witches. In the movie, Jeremy Renner plays Hansel; Gemma Arterton plays Gretel, and Famke Janssen plays the evil Grand Witch, Muriel. Don’t worry. There’s also a good witch, Mina, played by Pihla Viitala.

 

The plot is pretty basic. A witch epidemic is plaguing a certain town in the woods. A large number of children (twelve to be exact) have disappeared, supposedly because they were abducted by witches. Hansel and Gretel must track the children down and rescue them before the Blood Moon—a special moon that occurs when the moon is eclipsed turning it red; at such a time, the witches’ powers are at their highest, and they have a predilection to perform strange, barbaric rites and rituals, including—you guessed it—the slaughter of innocent children. It’s up to Hansel and Gretel with the aid of Mina, their new sidekick, Ben, and even a large, very powerful troll named Edward, to stop them.

 

Highs and lows? There really weren’t many highs. It was an okay action/fantasy movie with a few clever/cheesy one-liners here and there. I will give them credit for making the movie “R” instead of “PG-13.” Make the cut-off decisive so that no one foolishly thinks they should bring along young children to this “enchanting retelling of a classic.” Thank you. Not like “Red Riding Hood” from a few years back. As for lows, nothing really sticks out by itself, but the whole movie consisted largely of fist-fighting, gun-shooting, and spell-blasting—lots of violence. There was one gratuitous nude scene and some swearing as well. Hence, the R rating. The plot was okay. I walked away wishing they had focused more on the mystery surrounding the children—it’s not that they didn’t explain it, they did; I just felt it had more potential than what they delivered to us. It had the chance to be a good mystery movie too, but they went the way of action-flick. Which is okay, I guess.

 

Anyway, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.