The Vern’s Video Vortex, “Savage Witches Review”, by Jason Hemming, April 2013

SAVAGE WITCHES 2012 still 10

Originally published by The Vern’s Video Vortex, 5 April 2013

How does one begin to describe a movie that refuses to have a description. In no way should this be classified as a movie and I don’t mean for that to sound like an insult. This is its own thing and can’t be easily boxed into a particular genre which is easily marketed towards the masses. When I sat down to watch this piece I only read that it was an experimental film about two teenage girls who want to play all the time and ignore reality. The concept alone reminded me of Heavenly Creatures minus the whole crime angle and I was really excited to watch this. Shot in a wide variety of formats and aspect ratios. Savage Witches takes chances with its style, and I’m highly impressed with some of the visuals that were put on-screen. Even though a lot of it was difficult to comprehend.

Making full length features like this is extremely rare and the only time I can recall any experimental ones being produced were mainly for music videos. In certain scenes I swear Bjork could appear, start singing and it wouldn’t surprise me at all. But unlike those five to ten minute short films, this one is over an hour-long and its plot may be difficult for some to decipher. I wouldn’t be surprised if many would simply dismiss this as just another student art film because it does resemble that in many ways. I am not generally a fan of those types of features either because they seem to be more infatuated with style rather than its substance. Yet filmmakers Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais’ style adds a lot of unique visuals to the story and I really enjoyed that. The way it goes from being a 4×3 aspect ratio to a 16X9 one is subtle but very creative. There is also a cool moment where the two main characters actions are described by just using storyboard artwork.

While I did like the look of this movie and enjoyed the screen chemistry of both Christina Wood and Victoria Smith,  I found many sections of the score by Fiona Bevan to be downright annoying. There were some scenes towards the end where the music worked better, but the ones used at the start were really tough to sit through. When one views an art piece such as this you must put in your own thoughts and opinions towards it. No one is right or wrong when describing this to their friends. If you loved it, great. If you hated it, that’s great too. I am more on the neutral side when it comes to this feature. While I enjoyed its intent and its artistic style, I wish that it would have stayed consistent with just one style instead of being all over the place. But let’s not forget this is an art piece and like all pieces of art how one person views something is going to be very different at how another person views it.