The Americans’ Holly Taylor and genre veteran Paget Brewster are the biggest names in The Witch Files – a smarter than necessary tween horror-comedy that isn’t quite scary enough to be a scary movie, or funny enough to be a comedy.
It hits a kind of sweet spot in between that produces a few chills and a few laughs while creating a group of characters that find themselves in wish fulfillment situation that has less than desirable side effects.
While spending a dull detention together, an unlikely gathering of teenage girls discovers one of their group may possess supernatural powers. Intrigued, they follow her into the local woods, where they harness the ambient energy of witches who were persecuted there hundreds of years ago.
Directed by Kyle Rankin (Night of the Living Debs), The Witch Files stars Paget Brewster (Community, Criminal Minds), Holly Taylor (The Americans) and Greg Finley (The Secret Life of the American Teen).
The Witch Files will be available on Digital and DVD on October 9th.
There are many reasons that I gave up on Criminal Minds [CBS, Wednesdays, 9/8C] – among them, a seemingly deliberate bad treatment of women and unctuous and predictable writing. Both are present in this season’s premiere, subtly entitled Mayhem. It’s the resolution of the terrorist investigation/car bombing cliffhanger that ended the show’s third season.
You may remember the scene: members of the team moved to their various SUVs and one exploded. Turns out that in the case of the one that exploded, its passengers hadn’t quite gotten into it [can you say cheat?] and were blown back by the explosion, not instantly killed. Not only that, but a passer-by calls 911 – of course no one is allowed to approach them because it was established that the bombers were actually looking to follow up the initial bomb with one to take out the initial response team[s].
So, we’ve got a badly injured woman. How she survived being scraped along the street for twenty yards, leaving a trail of skin and blood, is beyond me [when we get a glance at it, her back is so much hamburger]. Meanwhile the male agent is blown into the air and comes down across the street and is only shaken up and cut from the SUV’s windows – or so it seems. Actually, it’s later shown to be bad enough to have both agents requiring emergency treatment.
In the meantime, we get a bunch of fairly predictable events – the injured agent driving the ambulance to a hospital that has been barricaded, another agent discovering the second bomb and appearing to die saving everyone… the usual – and the only member of the team that comes off well is, once again, Garcia [Kristen Vangsness].
Sadly, all of the episode’s major reveals were obvious to me well before we reached them [before the teaser was over, actually]. And the promised death once again put a woman through all kinds of agony – a Criminal Minds staple. Not that Mayhem was totally ridiculous – it was beautifully filmed [though the hamburger shot could have been briefer] and Vangsness’ performance was excellent. On the other hand, Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi was reduced to the role of bystander and Paget Brewster’s Emily Prentiss was little more than window dressing.
Overall, then, Mayhem reminded me why I seldom watch Criminal Minds. It was overblown fooferaw and pretty much a waste of my time. Don’t let it waste yours.