Pyewacket Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Written and directed by Adam MacDonald
2017, 89 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on August 7th, 2018

Nicole Muñoz as Leah
Laurie Holden as Mrs. Reyes
Chloe Rose as Janice
Eric Osborne as Aaron
Romeo Carere as Rob
James McGowan as Rowan Dove



Leah Reyes is a high school senior with a small circle of friends who are into alternative music and the occult. Leah is having a tough year. Her father recently passed away and now the relationship with her mother is strained. They can’t seem to be around each other for very long without getting into a fight. When Mrs. Reyes decides to sell the house and move at the end of the month, Leah freaks out. She doesn’t want to leave her friends or school behind and will do anything to not have to move away. In a moment of frustration, she goes into the woods and casts a death curse on her mother. Strange things begin to happen and Leah has second thoughts. Can she reverse the curse before it’s too late?

Pyewacket takes a serious look at the troubles teens face at home and in society. They are going through changes that no one understands and have to put up with know-it-all parents who are always getting in their way. Leah just wants to hang out with Janice, Rob and Aaron and get away from the toxic relationship she has with her mom. Mrs. Reyes is an emotional wreck in the wake of her husband’s death and keeps a tight leash on her daughter. Leah goes to a book signing with her friends to meet the occult author that has gained their attention. He warns them to be careful what they wish for and they couldn’t find him any cooler. Leah is in over her head once she starts playing around with the dark arts and is doomed by her actions. She contacts the author for help and he does his best to assist, but Leah is working against a clock as she has summoned something known as a Pyewacket.

Written and directed by Adam MacDonald (Backcountry), the film is a rich character study told through the eyes of a frustrated teenager. There are not a lot of special effects or jump scares; instead MacDonald wisely lets the tension slowly build to a strong conclusion that plays out with terrifying results. Nicole Muñoz (Pathfinder) stars as Leah, our heroine who makes a terrible mistake. She doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions until it is too late and must learn a hard lesson about life. Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) plays her mom, a woman barely keeping it together, saddled with a rebellious teenage daughter. The two share most scenes and work well off each other, developing a strong on-screen chemistry. Chloe Rose (Hellions) is Leah’s friend Janice, who is supportive and encouraging until she gets freaked out by something in the house and refuses to return. Rose gives a strong performance as the voice of reason and plays well off Muñoz.

This story unfolds in a natural manner that never feels forced. Both Leah and her mom are well-drawn characters that are believable in their actions and motivations. Leah’s mom has good intentions but stands in the way of the instant gratification teenagers thrive on. One of the stronger aspects of this tale is that she has no idea she is in any danger until the very end of the picture. Leah acts out irrationally but quickly realizes the error of her ways and does her best to make amends. Once the dark forces are released, the fun begins as we play hide-and-seek with the monster that may or may not be invading the house. Pyewacket is a straightforward horror film that has no time for nonsense and succeeds in most regards to its goal of scaring audiences. Adam MacDonald scores in his simplicity of storytelling and I look forward to his next project. For now, turn down the lights and curl up to this satisfying indie horror flick.


Video and Audio:

Pyewacket is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and looks pretty great. Christian Bielz’s cinematography is beautifully realized with this strong transfer that is full of detail and rich with color. Black levels are bottomless and there is plenty of small-object detail in hairs and fabrics.

There are two audio options here, a default DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix that also gets the job done. I chose the expanded mix and enjoyed the use of directional effects that creak and moan around Leah’s room at night. There are also some nice audio cues within the woods that give a haunting feel to the isolated location.

Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.

Special Features:

The main attraction here is a well-made making-of featurette (18 minutes) that provides interviews with members of the cast and crew, including MacDonald and actresses Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz. There are lots of film clips and a nice selection of behind-the-scenes footage of MacDonald at work. We also get Muñoz’s audition tape and can see how she easily won the part. There is a fire gag in the movie and we get a look at how it was accomplished with interviews with stunt coordinator Wayne Wells, stunt fire safety team members and the fiery stunt double. This is a polished piece that shares a lot of information in a concise amount of time. This is definitely worth checking out.

The original trailer is included.

Trailers for additional IFC Midnight features play upon disc startup.



Movie: Cover
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
Other articles by this writer


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