Pyewacket – In this unsettling occult nightmare, teenage Leah finds solace from the recent death of her father, and from her strained relationship with her mother, by dabbling in the dark arts. It all seems like harmless fun at first, until an argument leads Leah to do the unthinkable and puts a death curse on her mother. Leah immediately regrets her decision, but it may be too late because an evil presence known as Pyewacket has risen and it threatens to destroy both mother and daughter.
Interestingly enough, the name ‘Pyewacket’ was actually one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the “witchfinder general” Matthew Hopkins on March 1644, in the town of Manningtree, Essex, England. Hopkins claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of a local woman. She was arrested and deprived of sleep for four nights, at the end of which she confessed and called out the names of her familiars, describing the forms in which they should appear.
Hopkins claims he and nine others saw the familiars, which appeared in the forms described by the witch. The first was ‘Holt’ in the form of a white cat; the next was ‘Jarmara’ and ‘Vinegar Tom’, two dogs, one with no legs and the other with the head of an Oxe. As for the other familiars, Hopkins says only that they were such that “no mortal could invent.”
The story is about Leah, a troubled teen who recently lost her father and is now living alone with her mom. Leah and her mother don’t get along very well with her mother, and they are always at each other’s throat. One day her mother up and decided that the two of them should move to a different location to erase the memories of her dead husband and Leah’s father. Leah becomes very angry and does not agree with this because she will lose all of her high school friends and be alone. The mother ends up winning the fight and you see them moving off to their new home.
Leah is also completely infatuated with the occult and had spent most of her leisure time with her boyfriend Aaron and her friends Janice and Rob. After they sell the house and in their new place, Leah, who is still very bitter decides to summon the evil spirit Pyewacket through a ritual in the forest to kill her mother. During the night, Leah overhears strange noises at home.
Not long after Leah makes amends with her mother and she begins to regret the ritual. A close mentor, and writer of an occult book, named Rowan Dove, tells Leah that the evil spirit Pyewacket is a trickster and will try to lure her. He also tells her that she needs to perform the ritual backward in order to get rid of the evil spirit, Pyewacket.
Pyewacket doesn’t depend on cheap jump-scare tactics in this movie. The main horror scenes come from deep atmospheric build-up and creepy visuals. All of the actors did a great job in their roles. Laurie Holden playing the mother was outstanding, and man, some of the looks she managed to pull off gave me the creeps. Nicole Muñoz was impressive in her lead role too and managed to make you care about her character. To me, that’s a little rare these days when it comes to filmmaking. As a film about the relationship between a mother and daughter, Pyewacket is clearly geared towards a different audience, and I think most will like what it has to offer.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Shout! Factory
Starring: Nicole Muñoz, Laurie Holden, Chloe Rose
MPAA Rated: NR
Directors: Adam MacDonald
Reviewed by: Mad Hatter
Our Rating: 3.6 /5
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