Five undergrad witches come together in order to perform a ritual to invoke the ancient powers of the witch Ashura. The leader of the coven gets carried away and accidentally kills one of the witches during the ritual. She needs the strength of a complete coven to invoke Ashura’s powers and sends them out to find a final witch. As she absorbs power the surviving girls’ plot to take her down but the possessed witch unleashes hell on campus with only one young witch left to stop her.
Before watching Margaret Malandruccolo’s Coven, I was expecting it to be quite bad. I never usually go into a film with that sort of mindset. I try my hardest to be optimistic about every single movie that I watch and to be fair, I was willing to give Coven a chance. But, I was a little hesitant about it. The poster looked as if it was for a direct-to-DVD film that released in the early 90s that nobody had ever heard of. Plus, witch movies have never been ones that I particularly enjoy, but as I said, I was willing to give it a chance.
Unfortunately, instead of being a pleasant surprise, Coven is a cinematic curse and is one of the worst movies of the year so far. It has virtually nothing to offer and will make you want to stop watching at every passing minute. Watching the entire film was definitely a chore for me, and I’m genuinely shocked that I was able to stay awake during it.
It’s a film with a story that doesn’t work for multiple reasons. One – it’s just not interesting. This type of premise has been done hundreds of times before, and better, too. It plays out in an extremely familiar fashion and has no surprises up its sleeves. The plotline goes the exact same direction you think it’s going to go.
Two – it can be incredibly confusing, especially early on. So many weird and zany things happen just in the first ten minutes alone to the point where I was seriously questioning what I was watching. There are lots of scenes here that feel completely out of place and even some that will make you uncomfortable, but not in a good way. Sometimes, it truly feels like an inappropriate movie.
But aside from the heavily messy, dreadfully boring story, one of the other massive problems Coven suffers from is its characters. They are all deeply unlikable and have no redeeming qualities to them. It’s hard to root for the main characters in your movie when they’re all witches that feel trope-ridden and make decisions that make you shake your head.
Even just aside from that, it’s a visually bland film that doesn’t have anything nice to look at. It would have been delightful if the film, as bad as it is, had some good cinematography and clever use of lighting in order to set the mood for a ritualistic story. But no. It looks and feels like it belongs on the Lifetime channel. It’s poorly lit and features stale cinematography. The film has no memorable shots.
The only redeeming quality of Coven is the fact that it is only eighty minutes in length, including two minutes of credits. If it was any longer, it would have felt like I was under an even worse spell.
Coven is a heavily messy, trope-filled disaster with an array of unlikeable characters and a story that feels dated and familiar.
Overall Grade: F
MPAA Rating: N/A
Directed by: Margaret Malandruccolo
Distributed by: Uncork’d Entertainment
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Running Time: 80 minutes