TWO WITCHES Review - Salem Horror Fest

Dylyn C.S. describes her screening of Two Witches at the virtual Salem Horror Fest as a female-led film drenched in blood and wine, serving feminist depravity at its finest.



Salem Horror Fest kicked off October 22, 2021 with a batch of scary features perfect for Halloween. Included in the spine-tingling lineup was Pierre Tsigaridis’s chilling tale Two Witches (2021), a horror film exploring the lives of devilishly enchanting women, each witch with her own distinct story.


Segmented into three parts, the film begins with couple Sarah and Simon dining at a French restaurant. Pregnant with Simon’s child, Sarah declines an offer of wine from her partner, reminding him of her pregnancy and alluding to his thoughtlessness. The two exchange a smile or two amidst some low-grade tension until their date night takes a darker turn. Disquieted by a glare from a creepy old woman, Sarah comes to believe a terrible curse has befallen her. Two Witches descends into a violently wicked slow-burn possessed by the spirit of paranoid 70s horror films. With echoes of John D. Hancock’s gravely underappreciated Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) and Dario Argento’s horror classic Suspiria (1977), this woman-led treasure had me entranced from the moment I pressed play.


Belle Adams (This World Alone) and Ian Michaels (Easy Targets) play the accursed couple, but Two Witches also features a wealth of other characters with disturbed and interconnected storylines. In their roles as unlucky friends of Sarah and Simon, Dina Silva plays spiritual medium Melissa with Tim Fox (Westworld) as her initially skeptical boyfriend Dustin. Co-writer of the film Kristina Klebe (Hellboy, Proxy) also joins the cast as museum curator Rachel, roommate to infernal terror—and in my eyes, the best part of the film—Masha. In her vicious portrayal of the perpetually-grinning witch Masha, Rebekah Kennedy (Limbo, Creature) makes my skin crawl in a way I love and can’t shake off. She’s by far the most vile and memorable part of the film for me, brutally challenging patriarchal norms of propriety through sordid acts of violence.


With its lush and lurid imagery, beautifully off-putting score and stunning direction, I was shocked to find out that Two Witches is director Pierre Tsigaridis’s first feature-length film. Having previously directed Dina Silva and Ian Michaels in horror short I Who Have No One (2019), however, it’s understandable why there was a natural ease from the actors on-screen. It’s clear Tsigaridis is both a passionate filmmaker and a force to be reckoned with. Even the gore-spattered dream sequences and vibrantly ornate set-designs seem a tribute to 70s horror reminiscent of modern throwbacks like Ti West’s The House of The Devil (2009), Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria (2018), all featuring strong female leads.


I adored Two Witches. As a female-led film drenched in blood and wine, it felt like feminist depravity at its finest. The film was frightfully empowering and spoke often to the misogynistic pressures to be squeaky-clean and virginal. That being said, I would have loved to see more character development for each of the women involved, especially with regards to Masha. I wanted a much deeper look than what we were given into her Romanian heritage and generational magic. Yet, I find myself obsessed with this film and hope many like it follow. If you love witches as much as I do, this film belongs at the top of your watchlist.


 






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