The Reel Review
An Irish Amish community in remote Western Canada is torn apart when the secret 17-year-old daughter of a village outcast seeks revenge against them. Plagued by dying crops and a series of tragedies, the superstitious locals are convinced the girl’s mother is a witch who has placed a curse upon them, in this moody period horror set in 1973.
Writer/director Thomas Robert Lee has put together a well-crafted horror/thriller reminiscent of 2016’s The Witch, complete with a style of dress, primitive farming and Irish accents that seem unchanged since the settlers in his story had first arrived a century earlier. The predictability of the tale – pretty young witch arrives, villagers die in various gruesome ways – is offset by some surprisingly solid production, clever camerawork and convincing performances. The mood is chilling.
The beguiling, ballerina-like beauty of newcomer Jessica Reynolds as Audrey makes for a fun, jarring juxtaposition against her increasingly wicked ways, as villagers face crop failures, suicides, mutilations, unexplained illnesses and one hugely problematic pregnancy – you know, all the usual telltale signs of a cursed village. The creepy mood and some shocking plot twists help keep the story entertaining, despite a few confusing moments, slow pacing and a somewhat frustrating ending.
• The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw is the second feature film from Canadian writer/director Thomas Robert Lee, whose debut, 2016’s Empyrean, is a sci-fi drama in black and white about a man experiencing a psychic awakening after emerging from a coma.
• Hannah Emily Anderson (Bridget) starred as Jean Grey’s mom Elaine in 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
• The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw was filmed in Alberta, Canada.
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