Wicca Book Movie Review
Written by Ilan Sheady
Released by Darkstream Entertainment
Written and directed by Vahagn Karapetyan
2020, 22 minutes, Not Rated
Something sinister is happening to the residents of a city centre tower block and it may have something to do with the ominous looking necronomicon that has mysteriously appeared on the doorstep. From the moment its grizzly skin-bound bindings are opened, the cries of children fill the air in support of the terrifying images hidden within.
Wicca Book is a series of shorts that form a larger, but very simple narrative. The classic Evil Dead setup of a demonic book, but set in a high rise building is actually a brilliant idea (think Lambert Bava’s Demons or Jaume Balagueró’s [REC]). Throw in Cara Delavingne’s mountain climbing archaeologist-turn-witch from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad as the protagonist and, on paper at least, you have struck gold.
Unfortunately the execution doesn’t fulfil anything that the obvious inspirations suggest. While there are moments of beautiful cinematography and no shortage of great imagery, the payoffs lack anything with imagination or lasting impression.
Edits can feel slightly too long and certain decisions in characters' actions can make little to no sense, but the biggest disappointment is in there being no defining thought behind the antagonist.
The creation of the titular flesh-bound book is a thing of beauty and full credit goes to book creator Maria Alvanou, as this is the face of the ‘great bad’ across the three shorts and it perfectly taints the atmosphere throughout. It is the anticlimactic emergence of the true evil that lets the story down.
There are thankfully enough elements that make up for this; the decision to have no dialogue is a deliberate one, as writer and director Vahagn Karapetyan is an Armenian based in Greece so a verbalised script would reduce its universal accessibility. Only written words (in English) are dotted around the film with simple but effective instructions, creating catalysts for the narrative to progress.
Wicca Book is a visually striking story that succeeds in making me want to watch several similar movies that were used as inspiration, such as Fede Álvarez’s Evil Dead. But then on second thoughts... what would it be like if Evil Dead was in a tower block?
Fingers crossed that Vahagn Karapetyan expands Wicca Book into a much needed feature length movie.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.