With cult classics like Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), The Craft (1996) and Netflix’s hit series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it’s safe to say we horror connoisseurs have a soft spot for witch flicks. We’ve seen evil witches, good witches, teen witches… but what about soulfully damaged witches seeking revenge for a traumatic childhood? Director James Cullen Bressack (#From Jennifer 2017 – read our review here, Bethany 2017 – read our review here) and actress Madeleine Wade (Rideshare 2018 – read our review here) team up to tackle this unique angle in their 2019 release, Blood Craft.
Wade demonstrates the depth of her talents when bringing to life the character of Grace, a broken woman who must resort to sex work for survival even as she slowly dies inside. Bearing visible pain, shame and humiliation while she fulfills the perverted fantasies of her clientele, you cannot help but feel for this woman whose options are so limited. Faced with eviction notices, what other choice does she have? That is, until she receives a notice about the passing of her estranged father, Minister Hall (Dave Sheridan: Scary Movie 2000, The Devil’s Rejects 2005), who was plagued with corruption and a drinking problem, ruling Grace’s childhood with a iron fist full of fire and brimstone.
Shining in flashback sequences, Sheridan owns his role of a crooked minister who has personal demons eating at his very core. As his toxicity runneths over, Grace and her sister, Serena (Augie Duke: Bad Kids go to Hell 2012), are subjected to horrendous acts of abuse causing irreversible damage and psychological wounds that cut far too deep. However, one light of love and hope during the sister’s childhood was their mother, Hilde (Dominique Swain: Face/Off 1997, Astro 2018 – read our review here), a witch who taught the girls that nothing is permanent… not even death.
Returning to her childhood home after the passing of her father, Grace is reunited with her sister. After reflecting on old times, the siblings dig up their mother’s spell book to perform a ritual to resurrect their father. Hellbent on enacting revenge for all his trespasses and transgressions, Grace and Serena get more than they bargained for when unspeakable truths are revealed.
Although Blood Craft isn’t a flawless cinematic piece, it is the heartfelt result of a modest budget with strong connotations. As the plot unfolds, the final reveal begins to feel slightly convoluted. More subtle hints about Grace’s struggles could have been seasoned throughout the film without giving too much away, which may have helped flush out the grand finale.
While the ending could have been more clear and some use of CGI is a bit of an eyesore, Blood Craft manages to create a twist that unexpectedly avoids using a cliché, all by way of commendable misdirection. Although it strays from an open interpretation, the film does make you piece some things together, which may come as a disappointment to zombie audiences seeking to tune out with a simple gorefest. However, there are some cringeworthy moments including one particular scene involving a bathtub, blood and a coat hanger to satisfy some viewer’s appetite for gore.
Watch Blood Craft now!
Shortcomings aside, this Bressack and Wade horror endeavor is a ’90s throwback that explores trauma in a realistic fashion. Showcasing such depth makes this a must-see for indie horror lovers searching for an excellent spin on witchcraft films. Fall under the spell of Blood Craft, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime and other major streaming platforms.