THE COVEN (2015) Reviews of British folk horror – free to watch on YouTube

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‘Playtime is over’
The Coven is a 2015 British folk horror film about teenage girls that go camping in nearby woods and find themselves part of a Wiccan ritual.

Directed by John Mackie from a screenplay by producer Jayney Mackie. Executive produced by John Beckett and Kevin Phelan.

The FX Team Productions movie stars Dexter Fletcher (The Three Musketeers 2011; Dead Cert; Layer Cake; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Cloi Mckee, Holli Mckee (St Trinian’s; St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold), Mark Harris, Tony O’Callaghan, Howard Lee, Magda Rodriguez, Billy Red Mackie and Kazim Benson.

In Highgate, North London, five young teenagers hoping to witness pagan activity, camp in historic Queen’s Wood on Halloween but soon discover they are part of a Wiccan ritual when a mysterious biker hunts them down.

“The story is muddled and incoherent, while the acting of the lead actresses is often so wooden that Pinocchio would even be jealous. Although the official synopsis promises the viewer a cinematic nightmare, the scare scenes are so sparse and poorly developed that ‘The Coven’ never really gets creepy anywhere.” Cinemagazine

“The plot is fairly involved but many of the key points are seen fleetingly. As a result, it is possible that the viewer will get to the end of the film without understanding who the biker is or why the seven pupils are killed. This does not detract from the film as subsequent viewings reveal the detail.” Cochrane Faithful

“The first thing you notice is that there are only four teenage girls on the movie poster and DVD cover. That’s special, why? No idea. Also, this movie poster looks suspiciously like The Craft, another movie about teenage girls and witches. But that’s where the comparison ends. Then the story is weak, there are no scares in it and there is not even anything gruesome.” 1 out of 5, Nacht Vlinders [translated from Dutch]

“Aside from the glaring deficiencies in script, direction (check out the step ladder in the background as the kids ‘leap’ over a railing), and just genre-specific attributes of tension and atmosphere, the core issue lies with the casting. I think it must surely be impossible to cast a more indistinguishably bland group of teenage girls. The mumbling! What’s with it?” The Schlock Pit

Cast and characters:
Dexter Fletcher … Mr Sheers
Cloi Mckee … Cara
Holli Mckee … Ruby
Mark Harris … Edward Latimer
Tony O’Callaghan … Charlie
Howard Lee … Eve’s Tutor
Magda Rodriguez … Mrs Belial
Billy Red Mackie … Louie
Kazim Benson … Eddy
Madeleine Rose Witney … Izzy
Maya Charlery … Fran
Rachel Summers … Eve
Fiona Maeve O’Brien … Ulrika
Josie Benson … Eve’s Mum
Angel Makedonski … Uri Clef

Filming locations:
Archway, North London (aerial shot of Archway Road)
Crouch End, North London (exterior of The Harringay Arms pub and interior of Moors Bar)
Finsbury Park, North London
Highgate Library (exterior shot)
Highgate School, Highgate, North London
Hornsey Library, Muswell Hill (interior scene)
Muswell Hill Broadway, North London (roundabout)
Queen’s Wood, Highgate, North London
Filmed in 2013.

Technical details:
1 hour 27 minutes


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