Witches' Night

Witches’ Night A film by Paul Traynor Review by Kenneth Holm Dorkgasm Senior Staff Writer
            Witches’ Night begins with a ceremony conducted by what seem to be witches, going to show that the title was well thought out. A gentleman lies on a table, strapped down as he fights for his life. Witches caterwaul and dance around him, while one witch heats up a very special present. After a view with the “red-hot poker to the ass” cam, we move into the opening credits. Wow. Right off the bat, I knew this wasn’t going to be your typical horror flick. Turns out I was thankfully right.             The next scene brings us to a roadside in the country. An SUV pulls up with a racing stripe of vomit along the side, and we are introduced to the heroes of our story. Jim (Gil McKinney) has just been jilted at the altar by his fiancé, and his groomsmen are determined to help him out of his funk. His older brother Bill (Jeff Christian) is a slacker from the get-go, living more to smoke weed and drink than anything else. Married man Ted (Jeff Alba) is an easy going type of guy who checks in with his wife constantly, and resident hothead / strip club owner Rick (Wesley Walker) is bound and determined to get some pussy somehow. The boys have just left Jim’s disastrous wedding in search of something to help Jim get over his loss. They pull over at a small, out of the way convenience store to get some beers and to figure out a way to occupy their time. Inside the store, Ted and Rick notice some odd paraphernalia hanging around. They search for someone who can unlock the beer cooler, but have no luck. Suddenly Rick notices a strange book with some sinister drawings inside. He pockets it as a joke just in time to find the owner of the shop. After some strange witch-related dialogue, the gentlemen rejoin their other compatriots.

            While Ted and Rick are in the store, Jim gets violently ill and Bill helps him around back, where Jim continues to wretch. While Bill looks for help, Jim sees an old crone lurking mysteriously in a patch of pine trees. He passes out, and when he awakens, nothing is there. The four continue to drink while trying to come up with a plan for something to do. As the night progresses, they are coming up dry. Fortunately, a local named Marge (Betsy Baker of Evil Dead fame) rents canoes and reluctantly loans the foursome a couple to ride down the river. After giving them some back-story about the supposed witches, Marge vanishes into the night and the boys begin to set up camp. During the night, the boys hear some giggling and decide to investigate. They come upon four outwardly sexual young women, who encourage them to stay and have some fun. All four men agree, and there is much beer and pot consumption. After a time, all four young women turn predatory and begin to try to seduce our heroes. Everyone, including married Ted, is open to the advances, but Jim gets a bad feeling and bolts, taking Bill with him. Rick and Ted get luckier as the night progresses, and the two brothers sleep back at camp.             The next morning, everyone is a little worse for wear with various maladies that were seemingly inflicted at the points where the four women touched them. As they continue to travel down the river, their respective health problems worsen, leading to almost complete incapcitation. While three of the men work to try to understand what is happening to them, Rick bolts off into the woods in a fit of rage. Jim wants to track him down and get everyone home safely, but it soon becomes apparent that there are bigger plans at work than meet the eye. What follows I can only describe as a showdown between the forces of good and evil. As cliché as I know it is, the movie ends satisfactorily with a rather high body count in relation to the actual number of characters.             I thought this movie was a very ambitious entry. It was obviously photographed in digital, with a high emphasis on production values. The shots are well lit, the action is briskly paced, and the character development made me care about what was happening to these four friends out in the wilderness. Producer Sean Bradley was on hand at ICFLM to answer some questions about the filming and budget of the movie, but could not get very in-depth because they were in distribution talks. Apparently, this movie was shot on location in and around Spring Green, Wisconsin. This movie won the award for “Best Horror” at It Came from Lake Michigan, and I think it was well deserved. It has the brand of psychological horror I enjoy. I would fully recommend this movie to any and all who have even the slightest interest. You might be pleasantly surprised. Listing on IMDB http://www.myspace.com/witchesnightmovie