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'Pyewacket' TIFF 2017 Review: Be careful what you wish for

September 15, 2017Justin Waldman

We've all had those days where we've been aggravated by a loved one. We might have even wished harm upon them at the time, even though we never actually meant it. But what would happen if you performed a ritual to summon something supernatural to do the dirty work?

Leah (Nicole Muñoz) is an angst-ridden teen whose life is abruptly turned upside down when her mother (Laurie Holden) tells her that they’re moving up north, because their house reminds her too much of Leah's recently-deceased father. This makes Leah resentful towards her mother and, as a result, she decides to do something about it. A believer in black magic and driven by a spout of rage, Leah ventures into the forest to summon the witch Pyewacket to kill her mother. Little does she expect for Pyewacket to actually exist.

Director Adam MacDonald, best known for his film Backcountry, does something similar with Pyewacket, taking a basic concept and breathing suspense into it to create a compelling story. However, there needs to be more narrative development to flesh the film out further. Pyewacket is on the right track, but it's not quite entirely there.

Pyewacket is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Contemporary World Cinema programme. Its runtime is 1 hr. 27 min.

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