THE HAUNTING OF PENDLE HILL (2022) Reviews of witch movie – with trailer

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‘Inspired by true events’
The Haunting of Pendle Hill is a 2022 British horror film about a young woman investigating the disappearance of her historian father.

Based on the reportedly haunted area of Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England, a location which was at the heart of a series of notorious and bloody witch hunts in the year 1612.

Written, produced, directed and edited by Richard John Taylor (The Huntress of Auschwitz; Vengeance; The Krays: Dead Man Walking; Muse).

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The Hello Princess-Lytton Bros. Pictures production stars Lowri Watts-Joyce (The Huntress of Auschwitz; Vengeance; The Krays: Dead Man Walking), Noel McAlley, Jeffrey Charles Richards, Mark Topping (Jekyll and Hyde; Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing; The Haunting of Alcatraz),  Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett (Alien Outbreak; Dead Again; The Haunting of Borley Rectory) James Hamer-Morton (Mosiac; Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing; Pandamonium) and Nicholas Ball (Pentagram; Doom Room; Hammer House of Horror series).

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Plot:
While investigating the disappearance of her historian father, a young woman makes terrifying discoveries. It turns out that her dad was researching the infamous Pendle Witch Trials…

Our review:
The Haunting of Pendle Hill initially shows promise with writer-director Richard John Taylor seeming to take care in presenting his scenario and the rural setting is excellent. There are lots of decent establishing shorts and the juxtaposition between the 17th-century narrative and modern times works, drawing the viewer in.

Unfortunately, once Lowri Watts-Joyce’s overly negative, whiny character Matilda begins her search on the Pendle moors and woodlands, it soon becomes apparent that there is simply not enough plot for a feature film that lasts 84 minutes. Repeated scenes of Matilda screaming for her father at the top of her lungs soon become tiresome. By the film’s puzzling denouement, most viewers will have checked out.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
“Taylor, who also wrote this, fiddles with history here by making the historical figures actual witches rather than subjugated working-class women coming a cropper at the hands of powerful local men. But the director does deserve some praise for trying something a little different…” Dark Eyes of London

“The Pendle witch trials serve as a reminder of the dangers of superstitious beliefs and the harm that can be caused from making assumptions about those who society views as being different. But Taylor successfully manages to adapt the historical accounts about a shameful period from English history into one of the most chilling witchcraft-related horror films to have been released over the last several years.” 4 out of 5, Dread Central

“Speaking of locations, the one thing you can say about The Haunting of Pendle Hill is that it at least looks good – from the drone shots of the barren countryside, to the ominously lit and bleakly colour-graded visuals, Richard John Taylor at least knows how to make his film look spooky. Good job too, as the film’s story and plotting are anything but.” Nerdly

“It remains an interesting attempt, which can also be called very successful in terms of atmosphere and camera work, but it is not a film that manages to surprise you with its story or does things so well that it is also a film that is also very successful in terms of tension or other emotions. Only a half-successful film, you could say, which in the end is not very recommended.” Seal_Team1138 [translated from Dutch]

“Apart from some nice shots of the ominously dark and misty English hills the only interesting moment in the film is when a character wonders aloud why the townsfolk feared the women accused of being witches rather than the men who were so quick to order people to be tortured and killed […] It can’t even end on a satisfying note, instead, it leaves the viewer to wonder if half of it was the figment of a failing mind.” 1 out of 5 Voices from the Balcony

Release:
In the UK, The Haunting of Pendle Hill is available to rent or buy via Amazon Prime

In the US, the film was been released on DVD by High Fliers Films.

Cast and characters:
Lowri Watts-Joyce … Matilda
Noel McAlley … Roger Nowell
Jeffrey Charles Richards … Arthur
Mark Topping … Father Michael
Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett … Police Constable Webster
James Hamer-Morton … John Law
Evie Hughes … Jennet Device
Megan Butler … Jennet Device
John Battersby … Our Man
Nicholas Ball … Uncle Alfred

Technical details:
1 hour 24 minutes

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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