In the Trump and Post-Trump eras, there’s been a resurgence of the witch in popular culture, including a stellar remake of Suspiria and a reboot of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” for Netflix. Even Hocus Pocus is getting a sequel. At a time when women’s rights are under attack, namely reproductive freedom, it’s no surprise the witch is flying high. Two Witches features two distinct stories with slight overlap. The witches in this film are more aligned with Suspiria than Hocus Pocus or “Sabrina.” They’re powerful, vengeful, and out for blood.
The film opens with flickering candles and a wailing baby, before showing flashes of a crone’s face. You can probably guess what happens from there. She eats the baby. This is quite an opening, but the horror doesn’t relent.
Director Pierre Tsigaridis‘ debut feature then shifts to the first story, “The Boogeywoman.” This narrative follows the pregnant Sarah (Belle Adams), who’s tormented by anxiety and fear that someone or something is out to get her. This is trigged after an old woman gives her the evil eye while she’s eating with her partner, Simon (Ian Michaels), at a restaurant. Despite her bloodcurdling nightmares, Simon dismisses her fears as mere hormones. What a nice guy.
Things worsen when the couple visits Simon’s friends, Dustin (Tim Box) and Melissa (Dina Vila). Melissa is a New Agey type Hot Topic witch who hawks positive energy candles. She’s convinced that she can help Sarah, but things go from bad to a unique sort of hell really fast. The old crones want the baby, endangering everyone around Sarah.
Of the two stories, this one was my least favorite, namely because there’s really no likeable characters. Dustin and Simon especially are a pair of jerks, dismissing the women at every turn. That said, this segment does feature some truly skin-crawling scenes, including some gnarly body horror in the closing minutes. There’s pure nightmare fuel near the closing.
The second segment, “Masha,” is far more interesting. It centers around Masha (Rebekah Kennedy), who gives an unnerving performance through and through. She’s convinced that once her grandma dies, she’ll inherit her witchy powers. She even tells this to her grad school roomie, Rachel (Kristina Klebe), who definitely thinks Masha is weird. Can you blame her?
Masha is a downright unnerving villain. Not only does she inherit supernatural, Carrie-like powers, but she also manipulates Rachel, exploiting her story about a past abusive relationship. The scenes between the two escalate in bone-chilling fashion. This second segment also has wickedly creepy sex scenes, including a banger of an opening that surprises and startles, setting the tone for what’s to come. Let’s just say, Masha ain’t right! That’s clear from the get-go
Overall, Two Witches certainly isn’t a sanitized, Disney version of the famed female monster. The women in this film are powerful and terrifying. They drink baby blood and slaughter anyone who threatens them. Of the two segments, the second is stronger and really pushes the limits of gore and body horror, too. Kennedy gives an arresting performance as a witch-in-waiting whose eventual powers are jaw-dropping. This film diversifies its scares as well. Sure, it has a jump scare or two, but it also has some more restrained, shadowy frights that contrast well with the blood-soaked moments.
Make sure that you wait after the second segment concludes for the epilogue, which hints where the story can go. Let’s hope there’s more spellbinding witch action to come.
Brian Fanelli is a poet and educator who also enjoys writing about the horror genre. His work has been published in The LA Times, World Literature Today, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Horror Homeroom, and elsewhere. On weekends, he enjoys going to the local drive-in theater with his wife or curling up on the couch, and binge-watching movies with their cat, Giselle.