You have to love retitles, right? Mark of the Witch premiered at Fright Fest 2014 as Another before changing its name to the aforementioned. This is, I think, a great move considering a lot of “witch” movies are coming out at the moment (The Last Witch Hunter, The Witch etc. etc.) which will probably make this underground movie a lot easier to find, at the moment if you do any search for “Mark of the Witch” you’re assaulted with the 1970’s low budget movie of the same name. Give it time and I’m sure this rendition will start taking over the search engines.
Now, onto the movie; the opening scene is incredibly unsettling and creepy. We see ritualists in outfits that somewhat resemble the KKK doing some sort of dark ritual with a baby. The cinematography in this scene is excellent and really adds to the dark atmosphere. At this point I’m really enjoying it and, admittedly, my standards are set quite high after this scene. Now, fast forward 18 years and we meet Jordyn (Ana Paula Redding) who we quickly realise is the baby in the ritual from the previous scene.
Now, here comes my first annoyance with this film – the casting. Jordyn is meant to be 18 years old, yet Ana Paula Redding is clearly a lot older. But this is a usual occurrence, actors being older than their character, but this is where makeup comes in. If you want to make an actor look younger you don’t plaster them in heavy makeup which is what the makeup artist here decided to do which did not work in their favour.
Makeup doesn’t make or break a film, so this is a minor annoyance; on with the film! During Jordyn’s 18th birthday party, her Aunt Ruth starts babbling on about how “it’s time” and stabs herself at the dinner table. Fake blood, you ask? No, my dear reader, this is a far cry from Carrie. They decided to use poorly constructed CGI for the blood and stab wound. Why oh why would they do this?
CGI is a small part of the film, so yet another minor annoyance; back to the film! It is at this point that Jordyn’s world (understandably) starts taking a turn for the worse… Demonic style. She’s whisked into a world of demonic possession and Satanism. This is where the film, ironically, also starts taking a downward turn. Not only does Ana Paula Redding’s acting infuriate me when she’s the “good Jordyn” but it’s even worse when she starts taking a dark turn. She lacks the fundamental basics, when she’s trying to act angry there is no anger there; you can actually tell she’s acting. The rest of the cast aren’t much better but at least there’s a titbit of passion in their acting.
It’s worth it to say there’s very little meaningful dialogue in this movie, and what little dialogue there is is completely hollow. There’s drawn out conversations that really have no need and the whole script reeks of mediocrity.
The saviour of this entire movie was the camera work. It was so immersive and at times felt somewhat like an art film. If the scene was supposed to be dark and disturbing, the camera work made us feel that way, rarely anything else. Someone give these cameramen an award!
The storyline had a lot of potential but unfortunately fails to deliver big time. It’s not easy trying to make a new spin on something that has been done a hundred times before and done well. If you like great cinematography and mind numbing acting and dialogue, then definitely, by all means pick up this movie. For anyone else, I’d recommend giving this one a wide berth.