In a bold move Pyewacket writer and director Adam MacDonald creates a contemporary score that bleeds pure deviant angst. The venom which pours from the main character could be comparable to the same poison exuded by the cast of cult hit The Craft (1996). I’m not sure any occult film fans have just got over quite how bewitching (no pun intended) that cult hit truly was but I do believe that with the occult now being a trending aesthetic, the decision to strike while the iron was hot with this is smart. However, the execution is a little lacklustre in parts, especially when you’d expect to be feeling pretty damn uncomfortable and unsettled.
Pyewacket is the story of problem child Leah (Nicole Muñoz) who has a penchant for the occult, her obsession quickly transpires into deviation as she projects her teenage anger onto the usual victim – her mother. She goes one step beyond screaming and slamming doors when she indulges in a dalliance with the dark arts. Her strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Holden) never had the chance to rectify after the recent death of her father when Leah put a curse on her. Paranoia sky-rockets, her friends look upon her with disdain through their heavily kohled eyes, and it isn’t long until she regrets performing the ritual. Too late, Pyewacket has already started to hone in on mother and daughter (who is feeling pretty sorry for herself by this point).
I would have loved to see the characters in a more rounded capacity, the almost clinical approach to the characters against the plot, led to the palpability factor of this film taking a massive hit. Holden’s role as the mother remained closed and incalculable throughout the feature with her Norma Bates approach to parenting. Yet, thanks to Laurie’s critically acclaimed acting skills, every second of her controlling presence brought overwhelming waves of dread. Although it becomes pretty evident that Leah doesn’t carry the same love for her mother as Norman Bates after the irreversible damage has been done.
Undeniably the most immersive part to Pyewacket was the uncomfortable wait for the effects of the curse to build. In parts, the build up was pretty heavy, yet, the finale just seemed a little under-cooked and consisted of little more than fumbling through the woods Blair Witch Project style.