April 5, 2019 Blood Craft (Movie Review)
A traumatic childhood can leave emotional scars that last a lifetime. That in mind, Director and Co-Writer James Cullen Bressack (If Looks Could Kill 2016, Bethany 2017) explore what happens when those traumas are coupled with the knowledge of witchcraft in Blood Craft.
First playing festivals through March, the film hits On Demand as of Tuesday, April 9th through Gravitas Ventures. The story begins with Grace (Madeleine Wade: The Wolf of Wall Street 2013, For Jennifer 2018) receiving word that her father, Minister Hall (Dave Sheirdan: Ghost World 2001, The Devil’s Rejects 2005) has passed away and his estate needs to be settled. She has not been home or seen her father in years as he is a memory she does not want to revisit. Grace finds her younger sister, Serena (Augie Duke: Bad Kids Go to Hell 2012, 6 Years, 4 Months & 23 Days 2013), whom she also had not seen in years. Emotions and memories come flooding back as the two sisters’ bond quickly resumes to be as strong as ever. Serena has secrets that she needs her sister to know even if Grace is unwilling to face them.
The girl’s mother, Hilde, (Dominique Swain: Face/Off 1997, Nazi Overlord 2018) passed away when they were young. She practiced witchcraft and taught her daughters everything she could so they would be protected. Her death allowed the girls to be vulnerable to their father’s violent and sadistic parenting. Serena convinces Grace they need to use their mother’s teaching to resurrect his soul so they can take revenge on what he did to them and finally find peace with their dark past.
If the prospect of resurrecting the soul of her evil father was not enough for Grace to handle, the local sheriff (Mark Rolston: Aliens 1986, The Departed 2006) and his son, Tyler (Michael Welch: Twilight 2008, The Final Wish 2019), are doing everything they can to bully her into giving up her father’s home. What other secrets must Grace face before she can finally heal from her past?
The bond between sisters can sometimes be so unbreakable that neither time nor circumstance can break it and Blood Craft relies heavily on this idea. This said, the sisters could not be more opposite. Grace, the older of the two, is blonde and extremely emotional. In contrast, Serena is dark headed and seems almost disconnected from her feelings as she instructs Grace to preform the rituals and face their past. As children their mother told them, “Both of you together-you are strong.”
The girls clearly need the other in ways that those without siblings will find it difficult to understand. The trajectory of the film depends solely on their relationship and how they play off each other. Serena is nothing without Grace and Grace cannot heal without Serena. Both Wade and Duke have done an admirable job of playing off each other to make the viewer believe their bond and yet question how deep it truly goes.
Another key concept in the film is religion and it is interesting that a minister would marry a woman with such vastly different beliefs. It is not often that a man of the church and a practicing witch are paired together. They too, could not be more different. Sheirdan’s Minister Hall is a raging drunk who is tyrannical in both his parenting and his role as a husband. He rules with fear and violence all while hiding behind his church.
The flashbacks that are shown of Swain’s Hilde is of a peaceful, loving woman who is deeply connected to nature. Her girls and keeping them safe are her top priority. Their home is riddled with Christian religious symbols and art of the father, yet it is the nature bound witchcraft of the mother that continues to keep the family together even years after her death.
Dealing with the past is never an easy undertaking, especially when that past was ruled by evil hellbent on torture and domination. Blood Craft takes an interestingly bloody look into the process using magic to face the past. A compelling story with decent acting, Cryptic Rock gives Blood Craft 3.5 out of 5 stars.