TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Pyewacket’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical by - September 19, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Pyewacket’

Resting a film on the shoulders of a mostly unlikeable, temperamental, and ineloquent teenager is the first of a few major problems in Pyewacket, an inauspicious would-be horror story.

Young Leah (Nicole Muñoz) enjoys being quiet, hanging with her goth friends, and judging her mother (Laurie Holden). She prefers the color black and making rash decisions, which include playing with dark magic she doesn’t actually understand. When her mother, who says things like “I’m doing the best I can!” decides the two of them should move north to the country, Leah protests. Apparently she will miss her equally boring friends living now an hour or so away.

She also thinks her mom sucks at being a mom and wishes her dad didn’t die, so naturally one night when the filmmakers decide to make her mom awful and say something inappropriate, Leah decides to curse her.

While this all seems real silly, it has potential for scares, but Pyewacket can’t deliver even that. It’s clear something sinister is lurking nearby, and Leah soon regrets her decision. But the bumps in the night and wind rustling never pay off, and what little clever curse there is in play doesn’t arrive til late and it’s pretty well telegraphed.

Pyewacket, despite its limited budget and small cast, had plenty of opportunity to deliver more frights and tell a more emotionally compelling story. Instead, we’ve a derivative and dull story about a mother and daughter who we couldn’t care less about.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.