COVEN *** USA 2020 Dir: Margaret Malandruccolo. 80 mins
The Teen Witch genre has a new entry in the form of Thriller Pictures release COVEN (2020). The picture is not to be confused with several other films called Coven, The Coven or the series work from the outlandishly fun series American Horror Story. These films are part of the entertainment cycle that spring up when you get a big budget success like THE CRAFT (1996). For film makers, they become easy to make.
COVEN (2020) features ‘comely’ college girls who are intent on resurrecting their god Ashura. The coven features nice Beth (Margot Major), malevolent leader Ronnie (Jennifer Cipolla), her girlfriend Jax (Miranda O’Hare), the new age, free loving Taylor (Jessica Louise Long) and the practical Emily (Sofya Skya).
The film opens with the rather brutal murder of Christy (Sara Stretton) by Ronnie; she is thought to be a new coven candidate that failed. The trouble is that a coven is five. The search is on at the University, and this yields Sophie (Lizze Gordon), a studious, shy student. Sophia is discovered by Emily casting a spell of location causing a bolt of energy that results in the nearby Sophia dropping her books. The two chat, and the deed is done and verified when the Coven is complete.
The major players are supported with solid work by Terri Ivens as ‘voice of reason’ Dr. Lynn. Adam Horner plays a romantic interest in a thankless role designed to lighten the mood. The script has some moments when the Witch language is revealed and the connection to the past of the town adds a nice touch. The picture also contains nudity and sexual situations that led me to think some moments were removed to secure a more open rating. Lizze Gordon (love the name – I wonder if she writes like forty hacks) is having fun in the role, doing what you are supposed to do. The one that steals the show is Emily (Sofya Skya) with her dialogue and delivery of arcane facts. Her hyper behavior changes in an instant with texture. She also gets the always coveted last line of the film.
The coven is formed and the demon Ashura is freed with dire results. Demon fire, death and deep reverb voices manifest with a Van Halen style rising resurrection moment.
Films of this nature are not deep in story or implication. They are what I call popcorn horror, similar to most of the work put out by Full Moon Video. They give directors, crew and actors an opportunity to work in the genre.
COVEN (2020) as directed by Margaret Malandruccolo looks at times like a music video. With fog effects, an interesting metal music score and pyro effects, it often looks like stage rather that film. No fault in that as it what the director has done in the past and it works for this film. The female actors are dressed in revealing lingerie style outfits for the most part and look similar to many a girl metal bands (sans the instruments).
The look of the film is slick with extremely high definition video. There are a mass of electronic effects and explosions that would not be out of place in the Supergirl television series.
COVEN (2020) is fun to watch. All the actors speak well on screen even with some silly dialogue. Metal fantasy with college girls hunting a demon.
Review by Terry Sherwood