July 14, 2020 Coven (Movie Review)
In 1996, The Craft set the stage for the witchcraft sub-genre in modern Horror cinema. Adding to this sub-genre of Horror is Coven, which arrives onto Digital and DVD on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, via Uncork’d Entertainment.
The work of Photographer/Music Video Director Margaret Malandruccolo and Lizze Gordon, who has spent the last decade as an actress, Coven marks the debut feature for both of these ladies as director and writer, respectively. An exciting time for them and all women of Horror, Coven tells the story of five female undergrad witches who try to perform a ritual to invoke powers from the ancient witch Ashura. Alas, the coven’s leader, Ronnie (Jennifer Cipollo: Double Mommy 2016, God’s Not Dead 2018) becomes a little too excited and anxious during the ritual and “accidentally” kills one of the witches.
This in mind, in order to complete the ritual, she needs the strength of a full coven. With one woman down, she sends the other three out to find a new warm body to complete the coven, and when a spell is cast, Sophie (Lizze Gordon: Lucky Penny short 2015, #Captured 2017) is discovered. Once Ronnie becomes possessed, it is left up to one of the other coven members to stop her.
As previously mentioned, The Craft really set the stage for witchcraft-related films over two decades ago. Since then so many films have been made about witches, from 1999’s The Blare Witch Project to 2015’s The Witch and beyond. A popular topic, these films aid many in drawing opinions on how witches dress, look, or act; most common misconceptions involve lots of leather and lace. However, Coven definitely stays true to the sexy side of the witch world. Although, not all of the witches are badass and sexy: some are quirky and quite conservative, much like the character Beth (Margot Major: Homemade Movies 2012, Rose Drive 2017), the witch that cast the spell to find Sophie. And, like in most witch movies, she is only one smart enough to figure out just how crazy their leader has become.
Backing up a bit, Coven is also effective because the set design is impressive and the opening scene is eye-catching. Here, Ronnie’s true colors are already exposed and it sets the mood for her character as events unfold. These factors in mind, unfortunately Coven definitely lacks in character development. Sure, it is pretty much about Ronnie trying to resurrect Ashura, but a backstory would have been nice to sink into more. More over, who is this mysterious Ashura and how did she become so powerful? How did Ronnie come across her? All valid questions, the backstories of the other characters would have be interesting, as well.
Of course, every film of this type has to have some good magic battle scenes and Coven checks off that box with a pretty amusing one in a bar. In fact, there is even a second bar scene where Ronnie gets her revenge against an outspoken, rude regular. Overall, the story is solid while the makeup and special effects make Coven worth a watch. A promising start for two female Horror filmmakers, Cryptic Rock gives Coven 3 out of 5 stars.