It’s time for one full-length feature just released on Blu-ray, and two short films from an indie directors that are supposedly connected but didn’t really seem to be to me.
PLAGUE TOWN (2008)
Overall, this film is a disjointed and sloppy, but damn if it isn’t fantastically atmospheric and vicious when it gets to its main plot point: killer kids.
The opener gives us all we really need to know about what’s to come; a priest is about to shoot a newborn he calls an abomination, but the family has other plans for its future.
We then meet a family just meandering through the Irish countryside exploring their heritage. There’s a husband, wife, daughter with emotional problems, and daughter who hooks up with a guy she meets along the way, who then joins them on their journey.
The family fails to get back to the tour bus in time and ends up trapped in the woods overnight. That’s when the ghastly children, some in masks, some looking like zombies, most looking more like teenagers, come out of the shadows and start absolutely mutilating cast members. For me, they were really much more frightening than most of the famous hordes of freak children of horror cinema.
It’s the lack of clarity that adds to their ominous presence. They seem to be void of any purpose beyond being horribly cruel. And all the sadistic and gruesome torture is presented with muted sound that makes the scenes all the more unnerving.
On top of that, when the two sisters come together to battle the little devils, they actually become a fun pair of tough bitches.
THE PIG WITCH: REDEMPTION (2009)
This short film runs just over 40 minutes long, and for me it shows the major potential of director and star William Sikora…who also happens to look quite delectable without a shirt on for a good portion of the film.
His character is receiving backlash after a video he shot of him and some friends being terrorized by a robed, pig-faced being in the woods goes viral. Many consider it a hoax, while others believe he captured the elusive pig witch legend on film.
A year later, he finds himself back in the same spot, being terrorized by the pig witch once again.
As simple and basic of a backwoods horror as this is, I found the execution highly effective, including the look, movements, and sounds of the pig witch, the fact that most of the suspense takes place during the day, a fantastic moment when the pig witch lurks outside a car in the rain at night, and the main character’s highly motivated attempt to capture the pig witch. I would love to see this one turned into a full-length feature.
SPIRITS OF THE PINES (2006)
It was while looking up William Sikora’s filmography on IMDb that I saw he had made this film before The Pig Witch, which is described as the continuation of this story. However, other than a main character meeting a supernatural force in the woods, these seem to have no connection whatsoever.
In this 51-minute movie, a pediatrician and her sizzling hot man go on a road trip. When their car breaks down in a deserted area, she begins to see a young girl in the woods and instinctively attempts to help her. There are also flashbacks to a dude being killed in a house they stumble upon, but it never became clear to me what it all meant.
The hot man just vanishes from the film without us even seeing how, and the main girl ends up in a mental institution because no one believes her about the encounter. So she escapes and returns to the scene, where she is plagued by visions of Native Americans…and the same ghost girl.
Attempting to create a Native American legend, this film simply doesn’t come together in a clear and concise way…or deliver any scares for that matter. I much prefer The Pig Witch, and I’m glad I saw that first, because I wouldn’t have bothered to check it out had I seen this film first.