The Coven (2015) Film Review.

I felt like writing a review of this film, the reasons being will eventually become evident.

I bumped into this film quite by chance. I was looking online at random images, and I was curious to see if I could find online the poster to the film The Craft. I did so, but then encountered this:

Those of you who have seen the cover – and poster – for The Craft, will straight away recognise just how similar it is. Well, I immediately was amused by this discovery, and started to delve deeper, to find out more. In the end, I watched it, having gotten hold of a copy. (That might prove difficult, getting hold of an unburnt copy of the DVD.)

I sat down watching this, flicking between it, and responding to replies on my forum. I think this was a large mistake on my part, because I was seeing it in smaller chunks, and wasn’t fully paying attention to it. As a result, I was getting more and more creeped out by it, as it developed. Then I had a question pop in my head, and then I realised what a steaming mess it is…

I honestly don’t know what to make of this film, and i pity the Film Board person who had to sit down and watch this to rate it. You get the feeling like they wanted it to be a horror for tweens and maybe young teenagers. But with all of the references to sex, drugs, drinking and the like, it would never obtain a rating low enough to acquire it.

You also have the Mackie twins, Holly and Cloe, in this film. It has been a long time since St. Trinians, and i was interested to see how their quality of acting was nowadays.

The film starts of in historical Highgate School. This is where it all starts to go horribly, horrendously wrong. The pupils present looked like they were rejects from the local Comprehensive, and they were sitting at single tables that made it look like an exam is about to take place. Add to that the fact that you had Dexter Fletcher arrive to teach, looking like he was a renegade Time Lord just escaped from Gallifrey. And, for some reason, he is teaching Wicca to these schoolkids. Add to that the fact that the students clearly have had prior lessons, due to mentioning Margaret Murray and the books on the topic she wrote.

I have no idea what sort of school casually teaches Wicca in its classes. It didn’t even seem to be linked to any subject, either. Truly bizarre, but Dexter Fletcher skilfully moves the pace along, and you don’t think much about it, at least not right away. But then, you get the setting up of things: The enigmatic Uri Clef had taken seven of his followers, and none were seen again.

I’ll digress here. There is lengthy reviews about Uri Clef, and how he was in a mystical fights against darker forces in Cochranian Wicca… really going into some depth about this fictional character that is only mentioned in passing. It is utter rubbish. If you pause the film at the newspaper reports, it clearly says that no-one knew who he was, or his background. He had simply appeared from no-where, and was recruiting followers by his charisma.

Of course, past dark deeds in the local woods is too much to resist for the clique of bad girls in the class. (weirdly, most of that class was female. I stopped to check, because it was completely weird.) They end up plotting and scheming to go to the Coven, a group of ancient trees in Queens Wood, stay there the night, and see what they could witness. Hardly shocking; teenagers test their stupidity levels by doing something blatantly a Bad Idea.

So, in the end, they set off, using the bus. All but one. She was trooping around the school alone, and collared by Dexter Fletcher’s character. A nice location piece… but here is the problem. Highgate School is a private school, and is obviously that. If they had made it that they were in a private school, it would have made it all so much more believable. I’m certain the school would have been okay with that, given how they are fine having school leavers produce bizarre videos of teachers weilding plastic guns, and shooting down pupils. And then there is the clip where the Head is given a suitcase full of money, and is throwing it in the air, laughing maniacally… quite, quite strange.

In any case, they bother to use the actual locations, which is something of a bonus, I guess.

The girls end up in the woods, and eventually, after a lot of drinking, smoking and drugs, start to get attacked by demonic forces. More specifically, Lucifer on a black motorcycle. Yes, you saw correctly; not content in ripping off The Craft for the poster, and then rip off Harry Potter with the beginning sequence, followed by stealing camcorders in the woods from The Blair Witch Project, they then proceeded to take from Ghost Rider as well.

And after a lot of mumbling and running around (making Scooby Doo proud in the process,) you mercifully get to the end.

I was admittedly getting creeped out by this film, until I had a question pop into my head: Why is Lucifer riding a motorcycle in the woods to get these girls? It is a very valid question: The film did start off with Wicca, which doesn’t have Lucifer, or Satan. That is Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Lazy, lazy, lazy. And worse, I was left traumatised by discovering that there were films in existence that makes David DeCoteu’s efforts look good.

This film palpably doesn’t make sense in the slightest. Not in plot, not in acting, not in directing,  Not in how they spent £615,000 as a budget on this unrelenting disaster of a film…

In the end, I was left roaming around the next week after watching it in a daze. I couldn’t believe how everyone in the process thought it a good idea to make this film, then release it.  I then started asking… could there be a way to salvage it? What could be done to make the story work? In the end, I ended up producing a story outline from that stealing pile of celluloid manure. I’m planning to write it in November, and am looking forwards to doing so.

I don’t think I’ll be watching this when I do so, for inspiration. It’d probably suck it all away from me.

Utter, utter mess of a film, and a massive disappointment. And I didn’t go in to this with high hope to begin with…

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