The recent U.K.-based Macabre Pictures DVD release of the 2020 horror film "Coven of Evil" proves that low-budget does not necessarily mean poor quality. Writer/director Matthew J. Lawrence (who may or may not have brothers named Joey and Andy) makes good use of his on-location settings and casts actors who strike the proper balance between deadpan and hamming it up. The bigger picture is that Macabre provides another example of British productions kicking the arse of their counterparts across the pond.
Our tale of terror begins with the titular witches of Eastwick adjacent conducting a ritual sacrifice with potential to require an explanation involving a fondness for riding horses. This scene also reflects the family values that permeate the film.
The action soon shifts to aspiring journalist/boomerang kid Joe basking in the praise of his parents as to his recent article on the coven. The 'rents are barely out the door for a few days when coven head Evie shows up with criticism about the piece. She validly points out the holes in the research on which the article is based.
The accepted remedy is to have Joe visit the rural farm that the coven calls home/ritual central. The suspense includes whether Joe will buy the farm and the related uncertainty as to if the pen is mightier than the ritualistic sword.
The moderately subtle dark humor begins with head warlock Zander doubling down on not showing up to drive Joe to the farm by almost running him over on his way to his potentially final destination. This arrival includes the obligatory glimpse of the mysterious woman, whose presence initially is denied, in an upstairs window.
Joe then meets the rest of the family, which includes wonderfully quirky middle-aged healer Kissi and young rookie Talia. (we later learn that boys always will be boys.) Joe also soon learns of the magical spirit of the place.
Fun commences with a ritual in which Joe is paired with Talia ahead of a coupling in front of the group.
Alice enters the picture as the innocent/younger sister/Janet of Evie. Amusement comes in the form of Evie opposing the efforts of Alice to join the band. The narrative continues with Joe in the role of spoiler in a few senses of that word as he and Alice bond in a few senses of that word. This is not to mention the scarecrow who wishes that he only had a brain.
This action and subsequent events that constitute major spoilers lead to a ritual that is the climax of the film. The lesson that Alice learns as to her loss of innocence in a few senses of that word is that one should be careful when practicing wishcraft because you may get that for which you asked.
The fun continues with the guest-of-honor sending a bouncer, who contributes his two cents before admitting a member of the group into the club. In classic horror fashion, this awesomely is not the end of the story. The epilogue to all this must be highly relatable to parents everywhere who are at the seven-month mark and counting as to the kids being home all day every.
The bottom line here is that Lawrence shows that arthouse and Blumhouse can be compatible.