Weddings are seen as a union between two people, but it’s also the joining of two families. And while everyone hopes for a harmonious merger of family units, it can be an incredibly awkward time…especially when the families ar meeting for the very first time. Add to that a palpable tension between the bride to a bride to be and her sister, as well as Kate’s ex-boyfriend (who Kate’s family thinks she’s still with) and the comfort level can just bottom out. Such would be the case with Kate Boyle, whose sister Rose is about to marry her fiance, Agatha Sklar. Despite the love and support the members of the Boyle family try to lend on Rose’s happy occasion, sibling animosity hangs over like a layer of dark clouds.
The wedding is to be held on the remote grounds of an old unused military fort, and this is where they will finally get to meet Agatha’s family. The Sklar family are pastoral, even puritanical and rather somber in appearance and nature. This appears to be rooted in their lineage which traces back to ancestors who were among those persecuted for witchcraft in Salem, MA. Despite their rather frigid demeanor, they display a great deal of hospitality to their guests, making sure they are well fed during their stay.
As the happy event draws closer, Kate can’t help but feel ill at ease and even suspicious of her family’s hosts. What dark and sinister secrets and intentions are hiding behind the Sklar family’s bucolic veneer?
7 Witches was directed by Brady Hall, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Ed Dougherty. The two have the makings of a good story, but it needs more development. The run time clocks in at 75 minutes, which isn’t enough time to really have a fleshed out narrative. This has been the case with a lot of indies I’ve watched, with filmmakers squeezing an underdeveloped and emaciated premise into a tight time frame. Another 15 to 20 minutes of story could have improved this film greatly., especially in regard to the Sklar family’s background. It’s only fair to do so considering that the Boyle family was given a ample time for development. Instead, the Sklar family is made to look dark and rather foreboding from the get go. But when you consider the title, I guess the cover is blown anyway.
Respectable performances were delivered by the three leads: Persephone Apostolou as Kate Boyle, Danika Golombek as Rose Boyle and Megan Hensley as Agatha Sklar. Another decent performance worth mentioning is Macall Gordon who plays Kate and Rose’s rather cheeky Aunt Paula. However, the rest of the supporting cast didn’t really add much to the equation. The general depictions of the Sklar family attempted to make them seem silently sinister, but instead they came across as disingenuously dark and dull. And Rory Ross’ portrayal of Henry Sklar was less malevolent and more cheesy and over exaggerated.
As for the visual aspect of the film, nature was definitely an ally. The dark and dreary Seattle sky created an incredibly atmospheric backdrop for the film. The elements are in their own way a character in the film, kind of representing the “spectre” or” ghost at the feast”.
The score that Brady Hall created was at best, hit or miss. At times it complimented the film by providing an ominous air, but at other times it was grating and irritating.
Wait for it…here it comes…it’s that word you Little Monsters know I have a love hate relationship with…nad…here it is…POTENTIAL. Yes, I said it – potential. This film displays a great deal of potential. There was a real opportunity to craft a truly, dreadfully, creepy and sinister story. Hall and Dougherty had a great setting and a decent framework for a story, but it needed time to develop evenly and truly draw its audience. It needed subtle nuances to plant the seeds of tension and fear, so they could occur organically. And while a few characters were well written some were rather cliche. However, I am not going to count these guys out, because of that, well, you know…that “P” word. But as it stands this is what I am willing to offer up. 5 / 10
So my Little Monsters, if you feel like giving 7 Witches a chance, it’s currently available on Amazon Video.