Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
"A frustrated, angst-ridden teenage girl awakens something in the woods when she naively performs an occult ritual to evoke a witch to kill her mother."
This 2017 release had been on my radar to check out for a while, but then witch month appeared out of a foggy forest and the time had finally arrived! According to Wikipedia, “Pyewacket was one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the "witchfinder general" Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Manningtree, Essex, England.” It stars Laurie Holden (from The Walking Dead fame), Nicole Munoz, and it is written/directed by Adam McDonald (Backcountry - haven’t seen!).
Leah, played by Munoz, is a gothy teen who becomes interested in the occult after the death of her Father.. Since then her relationship with her mom has been incredibly strained. Her mom, played by Holden, is still so emotionally distraught after losing her husband and at times takes her grief it out on Leah. Leah, being an emotionally charged teenager dealing with everyone’s grief, takes it upon herself to try and conjure up a spirit, Pyewacket, to kill her mother. This happens after a particularly terrible fight. However, Pyewacket can take many forms and Leah becomes scared and overwhelmed by what she has done as things definitely go awry. The ending is traumatic and will stay with you for days.
Pyewacket is beautifully shot with epic forest scenes. The ritual scene is fantastic! There is some great music used in the movie, with a song by symphonic metal band Carach Angren being featured. Leah also wears their patch on her backpack! This excites me as the band is also a favorite of mine. The acting overall is great and Holden really plays the downtrodden mother part really well.
This movie is creepy as all hell. I found myself saying “Nooope” a few times. The imagery is quite unsettling at times. I would have enjoyed having more of these parts in the movie, however, they weren’t the point of it. The point of the movie was about perception vs reality; how grief and trauma can blind us from what is right in front of us. Remember, Pyewacket can take many forms...what you see may not be what is real.
If you enjoyed Lights Out then I strongly recommend checking out Pyewacket!