June 9, 2020 The Candy Witch (Movie Review)
Director Rebecca J. Matthews (Pet Graveyard 2019) and Writer Scott Jeffrey (The Bad Nun 2018, Cupid 2020), serve up some candy-coated nightmares in their latest creation, The Candy Witch. Released on DVD and Digital June 9, 2020 through Uncork’d Entertainment, it is a modernized folklore-laden Horror that strikes curiosity.
In this story we follow a pair of paranormal investigators, Reece (Jon Callaway: The Fray series, Cupid 2020) and Kat (Abi Casson Thompson: Cupid 2020) as they prepare to document the experiences of a family being tormented by a local boogeyman called “The Candy Witch” (Kate Lush: Suicide Club 2017, ClownDoll 2019). As they dig deeper into this ghost story and the curse it brings, things become increasingly more dangerous as this evil spirit begins to wreak havoc.
This stated, the film opens with the matriarch of the family in question, Ruth (Heather Jackson: The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall 2011) as she’s being tormented by what appears to be a decaying woman. In a scene reminiscent of something from the 2016’s Light’s Out, the Candy Witch repeatedly appears and disappears as the lights are turned off and on. From there we meet our ghost hunters, Reece and Kat, a couple who document their experiences for their online audience. Picture if Ed and Lorraine Warren had a YouTube channel. Reece, the resident psychic, tries to use his power to help solve these cases despite the physical toll it takes on him, while Kat helps conduct research and gathers evidence. They travel to the countryside to help Ruth and her family rid themselves of the Candy Witch, a malevolent spirit hell bent on destroying their family.
Of course, the task of getting to the bottom of this mystery is more difficult as it seems as the pair discover that the truth behind the Candy Witch’s past is a lot more intertwined with Ruth’s family than she originally let on. The witch was the former nanny of the family, hired to help look after the children, Lea (Hannah Pointing: Cupid 2020, Silent Place 2020) and Tom (Will Stanton: Silent Place 2020). Rumors quickly spread throughout town of her murdering children which led to her disappearance to evade conviction. It’s presented that the Candy Witch has returned to exact her revenge on those that wronged her.
However, there are still grey areas as to what truly led to this, leaving Reece and Kat to talk to one of the locals, Trish (Kate Milner Evans: ClownDoll 2019, Cupid 2020). There are many unclear elements to the story including the most important factor to the witch’s entire identity which is why she’s associated with candy. Additionally, there’s the inclusion of the alleged sexual abuse that took place between the witch and Tom while she was still his nanny as a child which is implied in a later scene that brings the notion that the subject was included just to introduce Tom’s demise.
If her name was an indication that you’d see some sugar-coated kills then you would be correct as she does most of her dirty work with a giant sharpened candy cane. While her backstory doesn’t offer much clarity as to why she is the “Candy” Witch that doesn’t stop her from offering up her “just desserts.” From candy cane castrations, human pinatas, and death-by-cotton candy.
There is even an ode to the 2006’s Black Christmas remake involving a cookie cutter and someone’s back skin. The film’s use of practical effects is one of its strong points, adding a realistic feel to otherwise very cartoonish death scenes. The only downside to the scares is the excessive jump scares and horror clichés. We don’t need loud music accompanied with background shots of a spirit walking around for it to be scary, it should just be scary on its own because it’s unsettling.
Candy Witch descends into madness as it packs a ton of confusing plotlines and carnage in the last half of the film. While it is not a masterpiece by any means, it is still an interesting watch for those who admire indie Horror films filled with incredible practical effects. For these reasons Cryptic Rock gives the charming The Candy Witch 3 out of 5.