13 January 2016

MARK OF THE WITCH. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.


MARK OF THE WITCH. (AKA 'ANOTHER.') 2015. DIRECTED BY JASON BOGNACKI. STARRING PAULIE ROJAS, NANCY WOLFE, MARIA OLSEN, LILLIAN PENNYPACKER AND DAVID LANDRY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an award-winning supernatural horror film that's all set to be released by the nice folks at METRODOME for the purposes of your home entertainment pleasure on the 15th of February this year. In other words, it's coming out on DVD for all you horror fans out there who might feel inclined to bung it into the old DVD player for eighty minutes of rather arty horror.

Have some of you run to the hills already at the mere mention of the word 'arty...?' Don't be so closed-minded, you lot, haha. Yes, the film is beautifully-shot in a way that seems to favour appearances over actual plot and I admit I was hopelessly confused at times, but the film is still worth a watch for all that.

I'd had a bit of a crappy day when I sat down to watch it myself so there may have been copious amounts of wine involved, but that merely served to enhance the feeling that I was having a sort of weird, out-of-body psychedelic viewing experience rather than watching an actual film, if you follow me. In other words, I think feeling tired and slightly disorientated may have actually helped, heh-heh-heh.

The story revolves around a young woman called Jordyn who discovers on her eighteenth birthday that she's no ordinary young woman, but in fact a sort of witch-in-waiting. According to her Aunt Ruth, a feisty, ballsy old dear whose character I quite liked, Jordyn's mother, whom Jordyn has always thought was dead, is a witch. And how does this affect Jordyn...? Negatively, one would assume.

Well, Witch Mom is going to need to take over Jordyn's body and soul any time now in order to prolong her own evil existence, see? Exactly the sort of present you want to receive on your eighteenth birthday, right? What, fifty quid in an envelope and a boozy night out that ends in puking your guts up in your parents' hydrangeas and unprotected sex with some bloke who bought you a few drinks not good enough any more...? That's how I spent mine, anyway. Okay, only joking. We had chrysanthemums, not hydrangeas.

Jordyn is not unnaturally disturbed by this... well, this disturbing news. Aunt Ruth, a game old bird, goes to great lengths to describe all the horrible things that are going to happen to Jordyn, an extremely beautiful young woman, as her Witch Mom gradually gains control of her and takes over her existence.

The idea of an ancient demon renewing its life force by taking over a younger person's body and life is nothing new. It's been done to great effect before and no doubt it will continue to fascinate film-makers for years to come with its endless possibilities.

Is there any point in Jordyn's attempting to fight an ancient evil that has defeated generations of the women in her family before her? Oh yeah, I forgot, this evil curse, like periods and an endless desire to 'talk about' one's relationship with one's boyfriend/husband/significant other, only affects the female line. Sweet. Sexism is clearly alive and well in the Demon Industry...

The scenes with the hooded individuals are genuinely creepy. Certainly, atmosphere is present in abundance in this low-budget film shot in Los Angeles that apparently 'wears its Dario Argento influences on its sleeve and is delightfully deranged ****,' according to one source. That's one hell of an endorsement, isn't it?

I love the whole 'witch' idea. Witches are scary, probably because they're women. I'm not afraid of clowns, Babadooks, gremlins or killer dolls with big knives, but I'm terrified of Blair Witches, even when I can't see 'em as such. That's because witches are chicks, and chicks can be evil. I should know. I'm one too, haha. I also love all the scenes with Witch Mom, well played by Maria Olsen, and Nancy Wolfe's grim-faced Aunt Ruth.

Is Aunt Ruth a witch as well, by the way? Can Jordyn fight the curse or should she just bow to the inevitable and enjoy the roller-coaster ride to the end of her independent existence as she knows it? Only by watching the film will you find out the answers, and even then that's not a guarantee
because the movie is as confusing as hell and it probably throws up more questions than it answers.

Still, it's rather gorgeous and floaty and surreal to watch and you'll have great fun trying to work out which scenes are real and which are dreams or evidence of ongoing possession or wild imaginings or fantasies or flashbacks or coma sequences or whatever. (Coma sequences are all written on goldenrod. Sorry, The Simpsons strike again...!)

If, on the other hand, you prefer your horror to have a definite beginning, middle and end and a nice clear linear storyline, well, let's just say you might be barking up the wrong tree here. I don't really mind if a story is kind of surreal-ish though, so I enjoyed MARK OF THE WITCH. I'll probably need to watch it a few more times to make sense of it, but that shouldn't be a hardship. I'll leave you horror fans out there to make up your own minds. Have fun...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers' Centre, The International Bar, Toners' Pub (Ireland's Most Literary Pub), the Ha'penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland's Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home. In 2003, she was invited to be a guest on Niall Boylan's 98FM late-night radio talk show purely on the basis of having a 'sexy voice.'

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director's Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com




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