Pyewacket is a fascinating horror drama with supernatural elements. “Be careful what you wish for” is at the heart of this story with wonderfully realistic characters.
On paper, Pyewacket can easily come off as another teenage angst fluff piece. Fortunately, this is a very pleasant surprise. For one, it’s a welcome example of how teenagers do face real issues. Also, their reactions might be extreme, but they rarely come out of nowhere.
In Pyewacket, Leah (Nicole Muñoz) is the teenager in question and she’s battling plenty of deep issues. Her dad recently passed away and her mom (Laurie Holden) isn’t dealing too well with her grief.
More specifically, she turns to alcohol before trying to physically remove herself from all memories. This means Leah has to leave her friends behind at the worst possible time.
Also, since her dad’s passing, she’s been increasingly interested in black magic. Her mom hates this, but Leah feels it comforts her. Basically, it’s just yet another obstacle between the two.
You can watch the trailer for Pyewacket right here or continue reading our review below.
Nicole Muñoz is the star
For the most part, Pyewacket is about Leah and her mom. Mostly, however, it’s about Leah, so it’s told from her point of view. This means Nicole Muñoz is in virtually every single scene. Quite often, she’s even on her own.
Nicole Muñoz (Christie from Defiance) does a stellar job of portraying a teenage girl torn between her own sorrow and comforting her mom. And, of course, how the two can’t seem to co-exist.
Laurie Holden (Andrea from The Walking Dead) plays Leah’s mom, Mrs. Reyes, and delivers another solid performance. She is extremely insensitive at times and downright cruel. To put it plainly, it is actually understandable that Leah decides to try and use black magic.
However, it is definitely also clear that Mrs. Reyes herself is depressed and struggling to do and be better. She has no real desire to hurt her daughter but lashes out due to her own pain.
Together, Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz work very effortlessly as mother and daughter. It seems honest and real in both the negative and positive aspects.
A seriously creepy horror drama
While Pyewacket is definitely a horror drama, it isn’t without some seriously creepy elements. An obvious comparison would be Under the Shadow (read our review of Under the Shadow here). Especially since both movies also have supernatural and very sinister elements.
From start to finish, Pyewacket is very much a horror movie. Everything in the story is very dark and sinister. The drama elements are used as storytelling devices and to ensure more of a slow burn.
I’ve always loved a good slow burner and Pyewacket manages to deliver this perfectly. Especially because it’s never too slow. The plot is constantly moving forward so you won’t be bored.
Actor turned filmmaker
Pyewacket was written and directed by Adam MacDonald, who’s primarily worked in front of the camera earlier in his career. Or actually, he still works as an actor. He just also manages to make pretty damn awesome movies in between.
In 2014, he wrote and directed his first feature film with Backcountry. Prior to this, he had directed two short films and even wrote one of them. If you haven’t watched Backcountry, you really should.
And Adam MacDonald already has another feature film in pre-production, but this time “only” as a director. It’s a sci-fi movie slated for 2019 called The Friendship Game.
For now, just make sure you check out Pyewacket, which definitely didn’t disappoint. Quite the opposite!
Pyewacket will be showing at Glasgow’s FrightFest March 3, and then it’ll be out in US limited theaters and on demand March 23, 2018.
Director: Adam MacDonald
Writer: Adam MacDonald
Cast: Laurie Holden, Nicole Muñoz, Chloe Rose
When you’re dealing with demons, be careful what you wish for… In this ultra-unsettling occult nightmare, teenage Leah (Nicole Muñoz) finds solace from the recent death of her father—and from her strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Holden)—by dabbling in the dark arts. It all seems like harmless fun at first, until a blow out argument leads Leah to do the unthinkable: put a death curse on her mother. No sooner has the girl performed the ritual than she regrets it. But it may be too late, as an evil presence known as Pyewacket begins to make itself known—and threatens to destroy both mother and daughter.