The new film 'Wicked Witches' by the Pickering Brothers attempts to combine the slow-burn approach to horror with a climax that emphasizes action on top of gore. The end result is a competently-made film that seems divided against itself.
The story opens with burnt-out man-child Mark (Duncan Casey) returning to a farm in rural England that was once one of his favorite hangouts. Mark shares the place with childhood friend Ian (Justin Marosa), who starts acting strangely as soon Mark arrives. Mutual friends join them for a party, which is soon crashed by seductive but deadly witches that are using Ian as a catspaw.
The cinematography is excellent with the filmmakers taking full advantage of the rural setting. The directors seem to be attempting to channel some of the more atmospheric chillers of the 70s like Let's Scare Jessica To Death, The Evictors, Hex and The Shout. But even the best directors can struggle with recapturing the flavor of a different era and this film lacks the subtlety to pull it off completely.
The second half of the film shifts to cannibalism and survival horror. It's not badly executed but no new ground is really broken here. The film attempts to emphasize female villains and the victimization of men in a reversal of what often occurs in horror/suspense films. The main character recovering from a breakup due to his own misbehavior seems to to reinforce the "battle of the sexes" but it comes off as a little heavy-handed.
Horror fans seeking a undemanding film with a rural flavor may enjoy this one. But 'Wicked Witches' doesn't quite realize its full potential.