Wicked Witches—also known as The Witches of Dumpling Farm—is a stylish debut from Mark and Martin J Pickering. We watched it on Amazon Prime.
After the breakdown of his marriage, love-rat Mark (played by Duncan Casey) heads to Dumpling Farm, where he used to spend time as a carefree bachelor. Old friend Ian (Justin Marosa) is still there but much changed; “acting oddly” is an understatement, because he does little to hide the fact that he’s gone evil or been possessed. Mark takes this in his stride and decides to throw a party, which is then gatecrashed by a coven of sexy (but sadly murderous) witches.
I don’t like dangling the verdict, so I’ll start by saying I really enjoyed this film. It’s not subtle or cerebral, but it is done well—allowing for budget—and loads of fun. The first half is hammy but amusing, while the second is a thrilling gore-fest. A superbly-scored party scene bridges the two.
I rarely like films where the lead is an arsehole but found myself warming to Mark, simply because he’s so slow to take alarm. At one point, he looks down at his breakfast and sees maggots all over his toast. This is a staple of the genre, but it turns out Mark didn’t get the memo. Instead of jumping in horror, he looks at them in confusion and later wonders if Ian has them for a fishing trip.
In terms of production, I’m pleased to give the film a pass. The director works in music and fashion and I think it shows. The film is slick and stylish, making good use of lighting—especially towards the end—and well-judged bits of drone footage. The physical effects are done well and served with relish. Examples: a head is found boiling in a pot. A witch tears someone’s arm off and hits him round the head with it. If you like that sort of thing you’ll appreciate the craft on display here. It is low budget, but it’s “good low budget”.
(One scene deserves a special mention. Before the thrilling dénouement, Mark has a conversation with his dead friend Stevie, played by Kitt Proudfoot. It’s a creepy little moment, perfectly executed, so I just wanted to single it out for praise.)
Anyway, that’s my review of Wicked Witches. It’s sometimes silly but lots of fun and nicely put together. I’d suggest it for a movie night with friends, partly because I wouldn’t mind seeing it again with pizza. Also, at the time of writing—21 May 2020—it’s free to Prime members, so I urge indie horror fans to check it out. Enjoy!