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Spell (2020) review

By Michael Monroe

A man crash lands in rural Appalachia and awakens in the attic of a traditional Hoodoo practitioner. He desperately tries to break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

If that’s enough to catch your attention, the. let’s dive and lean in to follow the story of Marquis T. Woods, a thriving businessmen leading a happy family life in his luxury home, equipped with all the cutting-edge trimmings of an upper-class existence. “Spell” is quick to disclose to the audience that life wasn’t always easy for Marquis. Through flashbacks, we learn that the self-made young man succeeded after leaving behind a troubled past and an abusive father somewhere in Appalachia. But that past finds him against the odds, leaving Marquis with little choice but to face it head on. Learning that his cruel father has passed away, he decides to take his family—his supportive wife Veora, (Lorraine Burroughs), and two teenaged kids—on a trip to attend his dad’s funeral.

After a refueling stop at the only gas pump for miles around, the family’s plane runs into a storm and crashes. Marquis wakes up in a bed in a strange attic, his feet and hands bandaged and bloody. His family is nowhere to be seen. The tension cranks up to a solid 10 and the story does an incredible job of keeping this tension palpable as the audience is left wondering whether Ms. Eloise is truly a good samaritan or is planning something more nefarious.

Refusing requests for a phone or a doctor, Eloise explains she can nurse her captive guest back to health using unorthodox means. Eloise shows Marquis the “boogity” doll she made from his blood, nails, and mud. With this ominous effigy, Eloise can completely control Marquis. Escape won’t be easy. But Marquis will have to find a way out from under Eloise’s magic before her real plan for him comes to fruition.

‘Spell’ creates tension two ways. One is with a lot of creeping around as Marquis narrowly avoids getting caught while an audience theoretically squirms in anxious anticipation. Actual squirms come from the film’s second method of manufacturing reactions. There’s even a scene that will make you cringe to your absolute core, while holding your feet thanking God it’s not you in the situation. For horror fans looking for a shocking good thriller with an uneasy nucleus of social commentary, & Spell is definitely that film for you.

Spell is available now on Digital Download from Paramount Pictures.

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