Tag Archives: Belle Adams

Which Witch

Two Witches

by Tori Hanes

From first-time feature director Pierre Tsigaridis, Two Witches follows the familial inheritance of witch powers from grandmother to granddaughter, sparing no gory detail while examining the pair’s reign of terror. From eating babies to sexual satanism, Two Witches straps horror fans in and puts a cement block on the gas.

The first of two chapters starts without a bang- in fact, it fully embraces the mundane horror tropes of the past: haunted, creepy entity only visible to the hauntee, overly skeptical boyfriend, goofy nonbeliever friends. It dutifully, albeit spookily, hits the key beats of any witchy tale. If the film had stayed on this trajectory, the review would likely end here. 

Thankfully, Tsigaridis veered off course. The second chapter highlights the newly christened witch granddaughter (Rebekah Kennedy) and spins into a freshly horrifying tale, chalk to the brim with overt and delicious camp. Whether the film took the first chapter to find its footing or whether the sharp turn into camp was purposeful by Tsigaridis is unclear, but one thing is obvious: the first and second chapter feel almost like entirely different films.

Is the presence of two tonally different chapters in one movie jarring? Yes, a bit. Is it the best choice to create a continuous flowing narrative and feel? No, probably not. Is it interesting and largely unseen in the horror genre? Definitely. 

A struggle unique to this dramatic shift of tone is performance evaluation. Due to their largely different styles, holding performances to a consistent level is nearly impossible. While pregnant Sarah (Belle Adams) of the first chapter plays the disturbed victim well, witch Masha (Kennedy) delivers her newfound inheritance with intriguing camp in the second chapter. The two performances could not feel further from each other, though they both hold the title of protagonist for their respective stories. This confusion in differing performances inherently elicits an opinion of uncertainty from audiences. Unfortunately, ambivalence and uncertainty are perhaps the worst reactions a film’s protagonists could garner. 

For the most adrenaline-seeking among us, Two Witches has enough genuine scares to smooth over the narrative bumps. For the rest, the winding story may lead you off course. If audiences can embrace the uniqueness of the camp, however, it may be a welcomed detour.

New World Disorder

This World Alone

by Rachel Willis

Some of the best post-apocalyptic films don’t worry about the event or events that created a dystopian world. The audience is dropped into this landscape along with the characters and expected to adapt to the new rules and challenges.

With director Jordan Noel’s film, This World Alone, there’s an attempt to balance a Before and After centered around an event only known as The Fall. From the bits and pieces we get by way of opening narration, some cataclysmic incident occurred to render certain electronics (or maybe all of them) useless. The narrator, our main character Sam (Belle Adams), lets us know that cell phones, microwaves, and the internet are now obsolete.

It’s assumed that losing cell phones drove everyone crazy (or is that just my assumption?), mankind was nearly wiped out, and the survivors live in a world where it’s everyone for themselves, food is scarce, and you don’t even want to think about having a pet pig.

The problem with trying to construct a new world in reference to the old one is that it’s easy to trap yourself in numerous logical holes. If you have a good story, it’s easy to ignore those holes. If your story isn’t so good, the holes become chasms.

Sam was born in the Before, but only remembers the After. She spends a lot of time telling us about the Before, which is unnecessary since that’s where we live. Time would have been better spent showing us how this new world operates.

The film’s dialogue is often embarrassing, and it never lets us experience things naturally. Like the narration, it tells us a lot. Sam’s mom, Connie (Carrie Walrond Hood), constantly tells her she’s not ready for the world outside their secluded home. However, if the outside world is as dangerous as Connie always implies, wouldn’t she have better prepared her daughter to fight? Rather than waiting until she’s in her 20’s to suddenly goad her about her weaknesses?

There is some beautiful cinematography, courtesy of Trisha Solyn, that helps enhance the characters’ feelings of isolation. Pointed shots help us see how nature has begun to reclaim the earth. Watching these women alone surviving in a dangerous world is interesting, but a short amount of time is given to this setup.

The cinematography and the score are the movie’s highlights, but unless the film is Koyaanisqatsi, you need more than that to carry your film off successfully.