Sometimes you can tell from the very first frames that a film is going to be beautifully rendered and dripping with mood and atmosphere. 7 WITCHES (Indican Pictures, 2017) is just such a film, and watching it is like seeing a fresco of exquisite horror being painted before our eyes.
It begins in stark, finely-etched black-and-white with a massacre of young girls and their family members in what appears to be colonial days. Then the present time is ushered in with muted colors as the same rural seaside location becomes the setting for a wedding between two women, local girl Aggie (Megan Hensley, THE CRAZIES, CHUPACABRA TERRITORY) and her city-girl lover Rose (Danika Golombek).
Rose's sister Kate (Persephone Apostolou, SMALL FISH, PARADISE HILLS) arrives, and immediately old sibling rivalry issues are reignited. Kate also has a problem with Aggie because she's insufferably odd and enigmatic, with the look of a prim Amish girl but a knowing air of sick perversion just beneath the surface.
Aggie's relatives turn out to be a deeply disturbing bunch of musty artifacts from the Salem witch-hunt days who make us feel as though that whole episode in history might've been entirely justified. And what begins simply as a very awkward social situation leading up to Rose and Aggie's wedding soon reveals itself as something entirely more sinister.
It's like one of those rom-com setups with the disparate characters shoved together in a house for the weekend and forced to hash out their differences BIG CHILL-style, only a lot more horrifying. Even the food (which Kate wisely refuses to eat) has a disgustingly vile look to it as we see it being prepared and dished out in harsh, hostile strokes.
And that's just the beginning. Before it's over, 7 WITCHES will take the viewer on a spookhouse tour that includes sudden, shocking violence, murder, perversion, and even cannibalism.
Gorgeously photographed in pure creep-o-vision, it's a masterpiece of mood that's lush, oppressive, and absolutely dripping with sinister atmosphere.
In fact, the story's most horrific scenes, with their grim, twisted imagery, give us an idea of what Lovecraft's or Edgar Allan Poe's nightmares might have looked like.
7 WITCHES ratchets up the tension to the breaking point and then ends abruptly, leaving things tantalizingly unresolved. Short and sweet (the running time is around 75 minutes or less), it's a must-see film for horror connoisseurs to savor like a fine vintage wine.
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby Sr.