Directed by: Pearry Reginald Teo
I don’t want to step on Mark’s toes by dipping into his SyFy domain, but I was recommended ‘Witchville’ by a buddy who described it as terrible enough for my consideration. He of course was right, ‘Witchville’ is atrocious. However watching it took me back to an innocent time, when I would find myself hypnotized by the TV, watching a host of fantasy sword and spell programmes that used to clutter the schedule in the mid to late nineties on Sky One. Imagine something akin to the flashback scenes in ‘The Cable Guy’ when a young Chip Douglas would be wowed by the goggle-box.
Yes, ‘Witchville’ takes me back to days when I would watch Kevin Sorbo strut around in ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ and become rather fascinated with the “are they or aren’t they” sexual tension between Xena and Gabrielle in ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’. The fight scenes were rather tame in those shows and there was a smattering of CGI which looked tacky back then, but when you consider back then was the nineties, when most things were tacky, now these effects almost look like medieval kitsch.
A typical fantasy adventure, ‘Witchville’ begins with a band of men who look destined to go on some kind of quest. You’ve got the handsome prince-type with good morals, the brutish slightly tubby enforcer and the Will Scarlet role, the boy who’s on the cusp of becoming a man, yet played by a twenty something actor who hasn’t been a boy for about a decade. You also know that Will Scarlet will either get captured or double cross the other men somewhere down the line.
So three men are in an inn, knocking back grog; one of them is Malachy played by Luke Goss, who lest we forget was once in the eighties machine known as Bros. In what is a very quick piece of character development, Malachy is told by his tubby buddy that his Father is ill and could really do with a visit. Mal gets all petulant and doesn’t want to travel home to see Papa. So tubster and Mal have a swordfight. Tubster gains the upper hand, and Mal reluctantly agrees to visit his Dad.
Sadly when they get to Malachy’s house, which is a castle, they find out that Mal’s Dad is dead. Malachy then becomes king, and rules a kingdom that’s on the verge of ruin. Sombre Middle Eastern music plays, which doesn’t seem particularly appropriate. Around this point in the film a lot of lines are delivered grandiosely, such as when Tubs McGee says “These people need a leader, they need you”. But where are the people? The town seems deserted; could they not pay for any extras?
Ah, next scene the people are here in their… well, there’s less than ten people knocking around this village and they seem quite hungry. Malachy and co fight a few of the peasants. The trio bump into Heinrich Kramer, a man who has an interest in witches. He tells them that Malachy’s Father was killed by evil witches, they doubt his claims, and Kramer demonstrates how his Book of Witches weeds out who might a witch. It certainly proves to be a more effective way of discovering a witch than the ducking stool, as the book works its magic and roots out a possessed villager revealing a mysterious red mist. The witch is captured, killed and witches blood rains down from the sky. Ol’ tubby boots says “I still don’t believe this charlatan”.
After twenty four minutes we finally catch a glimpse of someone who might be a witch, she’s blonde, dressed like the guy from the Assassins Creed computer game franchise and is able to turn into a crow. There’s no hubble, bubble toil and trouble, warts, broomsticks or pointy noses.
The film then becomes rather messy, the trio of adventurers don’t need to travel too far to find the witches, and when they do everything goes a bit silly. Mal gives an impassioned ‘Braveheart’ speak to his small band of villagers, there’s a Vadar & Luke big shocking family reveal and Will Scarlet unsurprisingly gets captured.
Luke Goss isn’t bad in the lead role, and shows a semblance of charisma. Trouble is, the sorcery story is awful and the special effects are typical of what you might expect from a SyFy movie. Though some may be purring for the beauty of MyAnna Buring, who plays the warrior witch Jozefa, there isn’t really too much else to get excited about. ‘Witchville’ certainly didn’t put a spell on me.