When it comes to any sort of supernatural horror there are certain things that have to hit for me. The most important is an unsettling vibe. You’ve got to nail the mood because that’s the basis for which the horror builds.
Two Witches finds that early but really nurtures it significantly for the second of the two stories at play. In its early moments, it’s less subtle, using more of its dark comedy chops, and jarring features.
This is a film about witches, but also two parables separated into lightly blended chapters. We start with a couple, a young pregnant woman, Sarah (Belle Adams), and her partner Simon (Ian Michaels), who go to visit their friends Dustin (Tim Fox) and Melissa (Dina Silva). Sarah has already been feeling off, paranoid, and like someone is watching. When Dustin and Melissa decide to do a seance, with candles and Ouija boards, things turn amiss. The first half is very much attuned to unsettling imagery, sacrifice, and the cautionary tale of delving into spiritual invocations. Once you go there, can you go back? There is also the sense of old and new practices of witchcraft which make the two stories intriguing.
In the second half, we focus on Masha (Rebekah Kennedy) and her roommate Rachel (Kristina Klebe). The introductory scene is a sexual encounter between Masha and a male partner where she pushes her limits and things turns aggressive. From there we get the idea that Masha is someone that wishes to be special, especially because of her heritage, and soon she even tries to adopt some of Rachel’s life and her experiences.
Basically, be weary of your roommates (hasn’t Single White Female, The Roommate, taught us anything?)
I’m not a jump-scare person per se unless it’s utilized in a creative fashion. Two Witches has some good ones, combining music, camera work, and acting.
The film is very much about curses or gifts as some may interpret, but also the passing of generations and the power that comes with it. In the second half there are interesting turns, and watching Kennedy float through the scenes as her confidence comes surging through is enigmatic to watch. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this horror tale makes it to the holidays and one scene where Masha delivers a “present” is a delightfully wicked scene.
The first half crawls so the second can run. I have some elements that I feel could have been tamed, and others spotlighted, but for the most part, Two Witches settles into an admirable discomfort. Pierre Tsigaridis is definitely a talented director, cinematographer, writer, and editor.
Rebekah Kennedy is really the standout, harnessing a performance of both internal uncertainty and external fire, that is immensely compelling. Two Witches doesn’t hold much back, lingering heavily on quick shots, hallucinations, terrific makeup, and body acting. Sometimes the movie feels a bit off-kilter in the sense of its tonal experience, but what it lacks consistency with writing it makes up for in ambiance and solid performances.
If nothing more can be ascertained one can appreciate that this directorial feature debut is incredibly telling of Pierre Tsigaridis’ talent. This may not be for everyone, but I would say stick it out and be on the lookout for future projects. With a stellar performance from Rebekah Kennedy and an intriguing supernatural take, Two Witches is worth a once-over. Keep the candles lit.