Two Witches

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Synopsis

With its super-saturated color palette, tenebrous art design and electrifying soundtrack, Two Witches presents two truly terrifying conjoined tales of witchery, paranoia and terror that hark back to the gory thrills of classic Euro horrors such as Suspiria, Shock  and The Beyond.

Expectant young mother Sarah is convinced she has been given the evil eye from a mysterious blank-eyed old hag while she is dining with her bullish and insensitive partner Simon. When the couple go to visit his new-agey friends Dustin and Melissa, dark forces are unleashed after an ill-advised attempt at consulting a Ouija board to allay her fears. Meanwhile, tensions grow between grad school student Rachel and her new roommate Masha after a violent incident involving a man that the strange and impulsive young woman has brought home.

First-time feature director Pierre Tsigaridis, who also shot, edited and contributed to the film’s soundtrack, singles himself out as one to watch in a deft and unnerving depiction of unspeakable evil that truly delivers.

Picture 8/10

Pierre Tsigaridis’ 2021 feature Two Witches receives a Blu-ray edition from Arrow Video, presented on a dual-layer disc in the aspect ratio of about 2.35:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition was supplied to Arrow by The Rancon Company.

Two Witches was filmed digitally and completed through a digital workflow, Arrow’s presentation appearing to be sourced from the Digital Intermediate. I can’t say at what resolution the film was shot or in what resolution the DI was finished but I was rather surprised with how well this presentation has turned out. There is an unsurprisingly textureless, digital appearance to the final image that is pretty much expected but there are no painfully obvious artifacts present, and details levels are relatively high in close-ups. The strongest aspect probably ends up being how well the film's black levels are handled, which come out looking incredibly deep and inky much of the time if a bit milky here and there. Range can be surprisingly wide as well and shadow delineation is excellent thanks to it, presenting a wonderful sense of depth within the film’s many dark sequences. Colours are saturated well with the reds look especially bold, almost as though they received most of the attention.

I wasn't expecting much from this to be honest, but it's a sharp looking presentation much of the time.

Audio 8/10

The film comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround soundtrack. The film likes its jump scares a little too much (usually accompanied by someone making a “crazy” witch face) so the film will go from quiet and subtle to loud bang/clang/scream/score at the drop of a hat in an attempt to get that jolt, and the wider dynamic range found here helps in that area. Dialogue sounds clear and the score has a handful of shining moments. Surround use isn’t as aggressive as I would have figured but some activity makes it back there.

Extras 6/10

There’s a decent amount of content here but it’s a real mixed bag with only a few things really sticking out. Both commentaries—one featuring director Pierre Tsigaridis the other producer/writer Maxime Rancon—aren’t particularly inspiring. Rancon’s, which features an awful lot of dead space, is probably the least engaging of the two since it feels like he only chimes in every once in a while to talk about production details and story points without offering much more than a surface examination. Tsigaridis is far more talkative during his track and he puts the focus more on the technical end of things. He spends much of the track talking about his decisions behind framing and editing, and how he was hoping to play with audience expectations. I was expecting both to maybe get more into the influences behind the film, but I was surprised to find there was very little on that subject with Jacob’s Ladder being the only film I can recall coming up early on, and that was in reference to a shot.

I ended up getting more out of a Q&A featuring the two together and conducted through a Zoom call following the 2021 Grimmfest screening. Here the two end up getting more into the inspirations and what they were aiming to do with the film (covered to an extent in the tracks, to be fair) before expanding on the gore effects and their favourite moments. It only runs 30-minutes but I found I enjoyed it more than the tracks, the segment benefitting from the two working together. It makes me wonder if a solo track featuring them together may have worked better than the separate ones.

There are two Behind the Movie “episodes,” one running 4-minutes and the other 8. They’re both basically promotional featurettes, though the first at least features actor Rebekah Kennedy who otherwise doesn’t appear anywhere else in the features, sadly. The second one ends up being the more interesting of the two Rancon and Tsigaridis talk more about this “expanded universe” they have thought up (which gets mentioned in the tracks as well) and a planned sequel, while also touching on Arrow picking up the film for distribution.

There are then two actor interviews, a 16-minute one featuring Dina Silva (Melissa) and an 8-minute one featuring Marina Parodi (the Boogeywoman). Parodi gets into the excitement around getting to play the villain while also explaining how she worked with a character that had no dialogue, meaning she had to be more physical (of everyone she probably had the better “crazy” witch faces). Silva’s is an odd one to be honest, but it can be a bit of a hoot when she goes into detail about the research she put into the character before talking about a number of props that appear in the film.

The most interesting features (somewhat surprisingly) are two around the film’s score. Tsigaridis talks about the piano score and what he was going for, mentioning the scores for both versions of Suspiria playing heavily into his inspiration. He even plays samples here. I also ended up liking an interview with composer Gioacchino Marincola, who gets more into the mix and even demonstrates its construction through his editing system. The two interviews run about 11-minutes each.

A minute-and-a-half’s worth of Test Footage has also been included, which shows make-up, lighting and costume tests, all shot on an iPhone. The disc then features a trailer and four teasers, one incorporating the Christmas song “Silent Night” into the mix.

First printings will then include, along with an O-card, a reversible poster and a booklet. There’s a couple of short statements from Rancon and Tsigaridis, but I ended up rather enjoying Anton Bitel’s essay around the use of witches in cinema and how that carries through to the two stories and characters in this one.

Ultimately there's some decent content to be found but I can't say the release is much better than what most studios would have produced for a newer film.

Closing

Features leave a lot to be desired but the presentation ends up coming out looking and sounding quite good.

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Directed by: Pierre Tsigaridis
Year: 2021
Time: 98 min.
 
Series: Arrow Video
Release Date: October 18 2022
MSRP: $39.95
 
Blu-ray
1 Disc | BD-50
2.35:1 ratio
English 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround
Subtitles: English
Regions A/B
 
 Brand new audio commentary by director, cinematographer and editor Pierre Tsigaridis   Brand new audio commentary by producer Maxime Rancon   Behind the Movie, a two-part behind-the-scenes featurette   Interview with  actor and associate producer Dina Silva   The Boogeywoman, an interview with actor Marina Parodi   The Original Score, an interview with composer Gioacchino Marincola   The Piano Score, director  Pierre Tsigaridis talks about the inspiration behind the piano score for Two Witches   Test footage   Grimmfest 2021 Q&A with Pierre Tsigaridis and Maxime Rancon   Trailer gallery   Image gallery accompanied by the film’s original score   Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel, plus double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady