While there are dozens of monsters that find their way into horror films, witches remain the most versatile. There are stories that showcase the exciting and fun side of witchcraft. Others face the gory details of black magic that chill to the bone. Directed by Pierre Tsigaidis, Two Witches leans into the darker, more sinister aspects of magic. In the process, he creates truly grotesque and horrifying moments that overshadow the limitations of his storytelling. This makes Two Witches a scary, visually stunning film for any kind of horror fan.
Told in chapters, Two Witches follows a witch and her daughter as they wield their power. As a pregnant woman, Sarah (Belle Adams), eats at a restaurant with her partner. As they dine, she sees a woman (Marina Parodi) staring at her from across the room. Shortly after, Sarah begins to experience weird changes to her reality. Meanwhile, the grad student Rachel (Kristina Klebe) struggles to maintain a relationship with her very sexually active roommate Marsha (Rebekah Kennedy). However, an act of violence brings the two closer together.
Tsigaidis also serves as Two Witches cinematographer, and his eye instantly elevates everything on screen. Evoking giallo, supernatural, and gothic horror, he lets the images speak for themselves. More than a half-dozen times, the creepiness of the camera seeps through the screen because Tsigaidis simply holds the shot. The blocking and framing of the actresses is often excellent. As a result, the ways their performances interact with the men, the camera, and the sets becomes integral to the film’s success.
Tsigaidis also pays special attention to establishing the geography of his scenes. When we find ourselves in a room or a new house, we get a lay of the land rather quickly. Yet cutting back on the number of available rooms also allows us to gain a footing as the audience. We cannot tell if something is amiss without familiarity, and Tsigaidis helps the audience understand about the oddity on screen.
The editing, on the other hand, fluctuates in quality. While it certainly helps to establish tone in longer shots, Two Witches also features montages that feel like an old-timey flip book. While the images revealed certainly frighten, there’s also something less impressive about the act of showcasing these images with little to no context.
The performances also stand out, particularly Adams and Kennedy. The two actresses bring different styles and emotions to the screen, and as a result they can approach their world in very different ways. While Adams seems genuinely terrified, Kennedy gets to push for increased chaos. The two represent polar opposites, yet each feels integral to the film’s ultimate success.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Two Witches is the storytelling itself. While the chapters certainly help lay out where we are in the story, it also feels like a crutch. Due to the very different tone of each half of the film, it creates the impression that these were two shorts combined to create a feature length film. The ties are weak, but the individual halves work well enough on their own that it keeps Two Witches entertaining throughout.
There’s a lot to love in Two Witches, which consistently surprises. With some truly grisly sequences that highlight the grotesque world of witches, Two Witches scores high on both the creepy and scary scales. A below-the-radar hit, expect Two Witches to gain a strong cult following in the years to come.