Coven, Margaret Malandruccolo’s feature-length directorial debut, owes more than just a passing nod to the beloved 1996 film The Craft. Much like in that fondly remembered sleeper hit, a group of witches, worshipping a powerful entity, recruit another member. Of course, things begin to get too chaotic, and a battle for the fate of the witches ensues. Can this independently produced motion picture overcome its obvious influences and create an entertaining story unto itself?
Sophie (Lizze Gordon) is attending college, but she keeps to herself, aside from going to classes. She does this to hide the fact that she’s a witch still learning how to control her powers. With the help of her aunt, Sophie’s attempts to reconnect with her deceased mother. She soon hits it off with TA James (Adam Horner), and the two begin a relationship. Ronnie (Jennifer Cipolla) leads a coven, with each witch having a connection to the powerful Ashura, who they want to bring back. See, Ashura was trapped away due to her power-hungry ways.
“…their fifth member must be tied to Ashura’s bloodline…”
But, to bring her back, the four—Ronnie, Ronnie’s mean significant other Jax (Miranda O’Hare), the ditzy but friendly Beth (Margot Major), and the perpetually h***y Taylor (Jessica Louise Long)—need a fifth to form an actual coven. But, their fifth member must be tied to Ashura’s bloodline, as they all are, and of course, that person is Sophie. As they bond, the real reason Ronnie wants Ashura’s power is revealed, and it puts everyone in mortal danger.
The special effects throughout Coven are not very good. A few, such as Ronnie floating in the air, are not too bad, but most are either too goofy to work within the seriousness of the story or utterly not convincing. Taylor is not finding the fifth member fast enough for Ronnie’s liking, so she freezes the other witch. The practical make-up used on Long to make her appear cold is so goofy, it reaches cartoon levels of silliness.
When Sophie is attempting to see her mom, the visions come in a very dream-like state. The green screen utilized to bring this haunted setting to life is quite dodgy. There’s a noticeable edge around the actors, so they never look properly incorporated into the background. It proves most distracting so that the audience has a hard time focusing on the dialogue and action of these moments.
"…the secret weapon of Coven is Lizzie Gordon"