By David Dent
The moral of Wicked Witches seems to be; men, don’t play around and do the dirty on your girlfriend! Mark clearly has, the old rogue and his partner has kicked him out.
So he moves back to the country farmhouse where he used to party hard, which is still occupied by his old bestie mate Ian. But Ian seems to have changed – he’s virtually monosyllabic, mumbles to himself and also grunts a lot. And Mark has strange visions of women in the woods when out walking.
Mark seems to see his estrangement as a release and hooks up with mate Stevie who’s a one-man drugstore. Stevie arranges a party that gets a little chemically out of hand (a rather convincing sequence it must be said). Ian turns up with some girls, who it turns out aren’t girls but witches, or demons, or something – no-one seems sure. Mark escapes the carnage when the girls turn into flesh-eating creatures and massacre his mates – but will he be able to escape?
The movie’s original title was The Witches of Dumpling Farm, which I think you’ll agree sucks as a title. Incidentally Dumpling Farm is a real farm in Cambridgeshire and, rather like Glastonbury, has a festival on its grounds called Dumpfest. In true micro budget tradition, directors Martin and Mark Pickering have included footage of some Dumpfest acts to pad out the film’s 75 minutes. There’s also a scene set in the village’s pub and convenience shop. These might be handy locations for a crew on a budget but they don’t make for a very scary film.
But for all that Wicked Witches is nothing if not a very spirited affair when it finally gets going. It’s rather light on plot, characterization, or a consistent theme; at one point it’s a bit Blair Witch Project (pagan stick symbols in the forest) then it goes all Evil Dead. We’re not sure what’s happened to Ian in the period since Mark last saw him, but Mark’s not exactly a sensitive guy, so he probably hadn’t even noticed.
But all the running around in the woods is well filmed and at times quite atmospheric. It’s also got lots of good old fashioned practical effects (good work by Sarah Panigada) and as a bonus for those so inclined, the film shows you how easy it is to pull your own arm off.