The Last Witch sees a group of aspiring documentary filmmakers take to the woods in an attempt to capture evidence regarding an ancient witch who was found guilty of a variety of heinous crimes 400 years prior. Sound familiar?
The similarities to The Blair Witch Project are staggering: The filmmakers lose their map; a fights ensue over a lost map; a quarrel breaks out regarding when they should or should not stop filming. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the protagonists are two guys and a girl camping in the woods and looking for the witch they are making a documentary about.
Right off the bat, I was really disappointed with the way the idea to investigate the story behind the titular last witch is framed. It’s presented in a manner that is trite and hard to swallow. The three leads are just standing around, filming themselves, trying to discern a strategy to become famous vloggers and one of the characters suggests they document the story of the the witch hunt that took place 400 years prior. Then, another character casually admits that she has a familial connection to the case. The entire exchange feels forced and it took me right out of the film before I’d even had a chance to get into it.
The dialogue is really bad. I acknowledge that the film has been translated from a foreign dialect, so that may to blame for a small part of it. But wow. Just wow. Actual dialogue: “Guys. This city is awesome. But there’s nothing cool to investigate. No tragic story or anything. How are we gonna become famous video bloggers?” Actual response to aforementioned dialogue: “Look, if you want to go viral, post a video of yourself goofing off.”
There’s also a ton of filler that does not enhance the narrative. A member of the film crew gives the viewer a completely unnecessary tour of her apartment, for what reason, I’ll never know. We literally hear the words, “This is the bathroom. This is the toilet.”
The Last Witch could have benefited from some heavy editing. There are entire sequences that could have been (and should have been) cut from the final version. It’s not slow burn. It’s just slow. And it takes far too long to get to the point.
The characters make one bad decision followed by another. It gets to the point where you can’t even feel sorry for them because their stupidity is just so profound. Whatever their fate may be, you quickly come to the point where you believe they deserve it. Should we spend the night in the house of the witch whose followers may be trying to kills us? Why not? What could go wrong? This room looks nice.
Making matters even worse, the camerawork is really choppy. It’s all over the place and it gets very disorienting trying to read subtitles and focus on the camera at the same time. Some of the camerawork is so blurry that the viewer cannot make out what’s happening at all.
Both the acting and the effects are laughably bad. Beyond bad. I am usually forgiving of some shortcomings in an indie film but the FX work and the performances in The Last Witch are on a par with a middle school theater production. There’s just no excuse.
The twist near the denouement (although predictable) is one of the only things that keeps The Last Witch from being a total Blair Witch Project clone. Unfortunately, that’s just not enough to save this film from itself.
With all that said, The Last Witch is now available via an exclusive distribution agreement with POV Horror.
WICKED RATING: 2/10
Director(s): Carlos Almón Muñoz
Writer(s): Carlos Almón Muñoz
Stars: Fernando Tato, Pepe Penabade, Alfonso Romeo, and Paula Pier
Release: Now available via POV Horror
Sub-Genre: Found Footage