Review: Death to the Patriarchy in the Witchy New BLOOD CRAFT
I have always been fascinated and intrigued by witches and their craft. From books to movies to visiting my local witchy shops, I can’t get enough. So anytime I’m given the opportunity to see new witches doing their thing onscreen, I take it, hence why I jumped at the opportunity to watch and review James Cullen Bressack’s new film Blood Craft and I’m so glad I did.
Blood Craft tells the story of two adult sisters, Grace (co-writer Madeleine Wade; Swipe Left, For Jennifer) and Serena (Augie Duke; Another Plan from Outer Space, Hell’s Kitty), who, after a childhood filled with abuse at the hands of their sadistic father, have finally received the news that he is dead. After years apart, Grace and Serena come together again in the wake of this not-so-much-of-a-tragedy to settle the affairs of his estate, etc. Soon, the two find themselves on a trip down memory lane, recalling some of the horrible things their father did to them as well as what he made them do to each other. It turns out, Grace has repressed many of these memories and finds herself in a state of denial as Serena helps bring some of these awful memories bubbling to the surface. Soon, the denial and grief turn to anger and rage and the sisters, who seem to have dabbled in witchcraft, come up with a plan to bring their father back from the dead so they may inflict on him a fraction of the suffering he caused them.
Throughout the film, male dominance and the most wicked side of the patriarchy is a major theme and the driving force that leads these sisters to exact the sweetest revenge on their familial enemy, their father. What better way to do that than with (what I consider to be) the ultimate symbol for smashing the patriarchy - witchcraft. Women have been persecuted and abused by men since the dawn of time and I’ve always been so drawn to/enthralled/inspired by women who have stood up against that abuse and persecution, specifically the witches of the past and present. Although Blood Craft does contain some pretty rough content that may be triggering and hard to watch for some, it is, at its core, a strong story of overall female bad-assery; a display of the great lengths women are capable of going to in order to gain retribution for heinous acts committed by men.
At just a brisk 90 minutes, the film doesn’t quite have the time to dive as deep into the witchcraft end of the pool that a longer feature may have been able to, but it still gets its point across very well and even throws in a pretty clever twist that took me by surprise. I would have loved just a bit more backstory on the sisters’ history with witchcraft because when their spells start brewin’, they’re unstoppable. Madeleine Wade and Augie Duke have terrific onscreen chemistry and I would absolutely be on board for more witchy adventures from the wicked sister duo (spin-off series, perhaps?!). However, the sisters aren’t the only convincing performances that deserve praise. Dave Sheridan (Victor Crowley, The Devil’s Rejects), who plays their scumbag of a father, delivers a grimy and disturbing performance that really makes your skin crawl and Michael Welch (M.F.A., The Twilight Saga) has the unique opportunity of a duel performance that I won’t spoil for you, but I can confirm - he nails it on both accounts.
I was previously unaware of James Cullen Bressack’s extensive indie horror resume, but after Blood Craft, I may just have to work my way through the backlog. I enjoyed Blood Craft from beginning to end and wouldn’t mind giving it another watch. In fact, a double feature might be nice and I think it would pair well with The Craft or another of your witchy favorites.
Blood Craft is now available to rent or purchase on various VOD platforms, including Amazon Prime, Youtube, and Google Play, so light some candles, burn some sage, and hold onto your grimoires for a wicked witchy ride.