March 24, 2018

VOD Review: Pyewacket (2018)

"Family drama with a supernatural bent."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5119116/
(aka I Hate My Mom!.)
Release Date: March 23.
Country: Canada.
Rating: NR.
Written by: Adam MacDonald.
Directed by: Adam MacDonald.
Starring: Nicole Munoz, Laurie Holden, Chloe Rose, and Missy Peregrym as the voice of Pyewacket.

A few years back, writer/director Adam MacDonald gave us the really enjoyable killer bear flick, Backcountry, and you can read our review of that little gem, right HERE. Now, he's returned to the Horror fold with a little tale of grief and a goth kid gone matricidal, which only serves to further our belief that they guy knows how to make an effective genre flick.

FYI: According to real-life English lore, Pyewacket is the spirit of a familiar that was bound to serve a witch back in the 1600's, and is described as an imp. Now, going into this movie we thought that Pyewacket was supposed to be a witch, and some reviews out there call the titular character a witch, while others use the word demon to describe the otherworldly spirit, but it's really a familiar, which I guess is neither here nor there, but for some reason I felt the need to clarify.

Don't ask why. Just go with it.

Ever since the death of her father, Leah has gone goth and turned to Death Metal and the occult as a coping method. Conversely, her mother just drinks a lot of wine and cries. Feeling that they need a new start, Mom decides to move them both to a new home way out in the boonies, because the wilderness life will do them both some good.

"OMG MOM, YOU'RE DESTROYING MY LIFE!"
Leah is not happy about this at all, and so her relationship with her mother grows more and more contentious, to the point where she feels that summoning the vengeful spirit Pyewacket to kill the bitch is the only reasonable course of action.

NOTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS REASONABLE.
Of course it takes Leah about 10 minutes to realize that she's done something horribly stupid, and when odd and creepy things start to happen around their new home, she has to figure out a way to undo what she's done, before Pyewacket takes her mother her too.

MOM IS OBVIOUSLY DRUNK AGAIN.
Pyewacket is a slow-burn of a movie which offers plenty of moody dread throughout, but doles it out in a very subtle way. To me personally, it plays a lot like the excellent The Blackcoat's Daughter (review HERE) did in that regard; they both have mood and atmosphere to spare, and they both pack a pretty good punch at the end. I really like the way that MacDonald avoids the use of cheap jump scares here.

Teen angst plays a large part in the movie and its plot developments, and whereas that trope usually tends to annoy us, it's done very well here thanks to a truly great performance by Nicole Munoz. Sure she's moody, and yeah she's so unreasonable that she goes through an elaborate ritual to summon an otherworldly spirit to kill her mother after an argument, but she never plays it over-the-top or never gets too annoying with things. And Laurie Holden does a killer job as the aforementioned mother, especially towards the end when her character gets downright unsettling.

OH MAN, SOMEONE'S GROUNDED.
There's a bit of ritualistic bloodshed in this one, but it's the horrifying ending that might just make you hurl. Not that it's bloody, but it's... well, you'll see.

THE BLOODSHED.
Not that kind of flick.

WHY COULDN'T THEY HAVE HAD A ROMANTIC SUBPLOT?!?
Teenage girls are moody. Also, messing with the occult is never a good idea, especially for moody teenage girls.

LOOK WHAT YOU DID!
Pyewacket is a movie that creeped us out and kept us involved in its human story at the same time, and gave us an ending that was truly disturbing to behold. A nice little surprise, all told, and one that should be seen by anyone who loves the term "Slow burn."

B+

Pyewacket is available on VOD now.

https://amzn.to/2ucaR2a

Nicole, Chloe, and Laurie: the bewitching women of Pyewacket.

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