Martin and Mark Pickering, who go by the name The Pickering Brothers, because, well, because they’re brothers, hit us with their first feature length film, the horror movie Wicked Witches, made for just £15,000.
In it we follow Mark, Duncan Casey (“A Fistful Of Lead”, “The Hatton Garden Job”), as he’s thrown out of his matrimonial home for promiscuity and heads back to his hometown.
Whilst there he happens to see an advert in the local paper advertising a room at a local farm and, as even more luck would have it, the man who owns the farm, Ian, Justin Marosa (“Eastenders (TV)”, “Brothers In Suits (TV)”), is an old school friend.
He calls Ian, who is acting rather weird, and arranges to stay whilst he sorts himself out. When he gets to the farm, Ian is acting even weirder than he was on the phone.
Anyway, Mark decides the best way to get over his wife chucking him out, is to throw a massive party at the farm and so his mate Stevie, Kitt Proudfoot, arrives, a man who never moved away and never stopped partying.
At the party Ian turns up with a bevvy of attractive young women. Drink is consumed, drugs are consumed and thumping dance music is blasted out of the speakers.
As the sun comes up, the girls take the fellas into the woods for a ‘surprise’. It’s not quite the surprise the boys think though as they find a cooking pot and, inside, a man’s head. Queue lots of large teeth, screaming devils and blood and gore.
Mark legs it and manages to get away and winds up back at the farm. Rather than continuing to run he stops to flick through a notebook and winds up hiding under a bed whilst Ian, in full beast mode, has sex with some of the ladies, monster voice and covered in blood.
Wicked Witches is a well put together film, particularly when you consider the budget. The brothers stick with practical effects where possible which mostly work, though some are a little ropey.
The directing, by Martin Pickering, is decent though it feels like there’s too much drone usage which begins to get tedious after a while, but otherwise he does a good job.
Where the film falls down is in the script and the lack of any character development. We join Mark as he’s sat in his car, taking off his wedding ring and throwing it away. But it’s not clear if he’s happy about this, sad, indifferent?
Mark never moves from this starting position, he never seems happy, never seems sad, just cringes occasionally. There’s also very little dialogue throughout the movie, from Mark or anyone else.
It’s not just Mark that suffers from a lack of development; Ian has no backstory, nor do any of the girls who remain nameless throughout.
The best bit of the film? Is almost the ending, I say almost as the final scene, the driving one if you watch, is eye-rollingly bad. However, just prior to that, Mark gets covered in blood, mostly on his face, finds an axe and goes to town on the evil women, and Ian.
It’s so Ash-Evil-Dead it hurts, the lighting, the camera positioning, it all adds to the Evil Dead feeling. That’s a good thing by the way, a very good thing. It’s a shame the rest of the film wasn’t in this vein.