BLOOD CRAFT is a horror film directed by James Cullen Bressack, starring Madeleine Wade, Augie Duke, Dominique Swain, Dave Sheridan, Mark Rolston, and the dude from Twilight — Michael Welch, the one who had a crush on Bella but she didn’t like him because she was obsessed with Edward. Co-written by Madeleine Wade and James Cullen Bressack.

There was a time in the 60’s and 70’s when witches were super popular. There were witches at discos, witches hanging out with hippies, witches pretending to be soccer moms and getting into fights with their witchy daughters, everywhere you looked there was a witch up to no good. But the time has come again with The Witch, Suspiria, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. That’s right, witches are back, baby!  

BLOOD CRAFT is a creepy flick about two sisters — Grace and Serena, played by Madeleine Wade and Augie Duke. After enduring an abusive childhood, they bring their father back from the dead using witchcraft so that they can torture him. Be careful about crossing a witch, you might not like the result.

The opening of the film shows what Grace has to deal with as a sex worker. We see all types of men talking dirty to her; some men want her to part her butt cheeks and some want her to beat herself with a belt. But the director is on Grace’s side. I found the screenplay compassionate towards strippers and hurt women instead of judgemental and elitist. There are far too many films written by men and women — who make fun of strippers, porn stars, and sex workers for a cheap laugh.

Grace’s father dies and she meets her sister Serena at the house they grew up in after being apart for what appears to be twenty years or so. The first thing they do is talk about their horrid childhood. Their relationship is disturbing but there’s a reason for that. The older sister, Grace, is a frail, damaged soul. She moves through scenes like a barfly trying to connect with normal people, a half-step away from crying all the time. Thankfully, the younger sister is stronger than that, pain has steeled her soul into something boney and hard, at least at first glance. Pain does strange things to people: It turns some people crazy, some people soft, and some people mean.

The witches summon their dead father and then interrogate him before they start up with some light torture. I can’t help but wonder when they summon the past: What’s the benefit of bringing it up? Well, according to therapists, the past affects the future. Trauma affects the decisions we make in our present life, perhaps without our ‘conscious’ knowledge. Stuff happens deep in our brains that we’re not always aware of: To resolve the past is to face the future, better equipped to handle the bullshit thrown daily at us.

I can’t blame the witches for being stuck in the past because their dad was a real piece of work, a sadist, who forced the girls to do all sorts of gross stuff after their mother, played by Dominique Swain (with a strange German accent) — died. But does revenge make anyone happy? I don’t think so, I think it makes you feel worse.

Then again even though I’m against the death penalty, I didn’t mind seeing Ted Bundy go, though they really should have kept him alive to figure out what made him so crazy. But I might have felt differently had I been in the room, like several journalists who were disgusted by the electric chair and the celebration held in Florida afterwards.

What good does vengeance ever bring anyone? Perhaps we have to avenge ourselves on someone who has wronged us in the past —  to feel what it’s like to be avenged — to learn that revenge solves absolutely nothing and may even make one feel worse. Like drinking a milkshake too fast. Not fulfilling at all but sickening. Sometimes it’s best to walk away from users and haters with a discerning grin and pirouette.

The abuse committed by the father may seem over the top, a gruesome Mommy Dearest, particularly after a gross-out scene in the bathtub. But there’s plenty of reports from Child Protective Services about true abuse that’ll sicken you — like the crimes of child murderers, Angela McAnulty and Theresa Knorr.

BLOOD CRAFT reminds me of a witchy movie that you might find on video in the 90’s. There’s a small cast and the film takes place mostly at one location. I really liked BLOOD CRAFT because they don’t make many movies about abused girls who, though misguided, refuse to be victims.

BLOOD CRAFT is being released on VOD platforms on April 9th.

Tiffany Aleman
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