Coven of Sisters (Akelarre) (2021) Review

This was amazing.  Atmospheric, slightly disturbing and brilliantly acted.  If you liked ‘The Witch’ this will be right up your alley.

Certificate: 15

Director: Pablo Agüero

Screenwriter: Pablo Agüero (screenplay by), Katell Guillou (screenplay by)

Starring: Amaia Aberasturi, Alex Brendemühl, Daniel Fanego

Genre: Drama, History

Runtime: 90 Minutes

Language: Spanish, Basque

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

See the source image

Set in the 1600s in Basque Country, a zealous inquisitor arrests five girls he is convinced are witches.  In an attempt to save her friends, Ana tries to stall the investigation by telling him everything he wants to hear, and convincing him to witness the Witches Sabbath with them, where they will plan their escape.

The initial description of this film had me interested immediately, witch trials and Paganism are among some of my favourite topics in film.  Especially when done subtly or like here, and in films like Robert Eggers’ ‘The Witch’ where you aren’t entirely sure if it’s hysteria or if the witchcraft really exists.  It’s a niche topic, but it’s a niche I like.  And this film does it incredibly well.

The atmosphere and tension are set right from the very first scene, and it doesn’t let up once.  You fear for these girls the entire time, history has told us what happened to the vast amount of women that were accused of Witchcraft, so the feeling of dread sits in your stomach, and you are waiting for the inevitable.  Parts of the film, can be quite disturbing, even though little violence or gore s ever shown, it is heavily implied at times, and at other times, the girls faked witchcraft performances can be quite unsettling.  The acting during these scenes is truly fantastic, there isn’t a weak link amoung them.

See the source image

Amaia Aberasturi who plays Ana, has a lot of hard and physically and emotionally demanding scenes.  And she is a joy to watch in this film.  The scenes of the inquisition, where she is weaving her tale to the judge are equal parts heart-breaking, and enrapturing.  She does such a great job telling this story, that is cleverly interspersed with the real events that she uses for inspiration, that by the end, I was questioning if the fake account was fake at all.

Not only is the acting and plot and atmosphere almost spot on in every scene, but the cinematography and score are beautiful.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, especially during the climactic scenes.  Fantastically lit and shot in a way to heighten the sense of chaos and desperation, it had my heart pounding.  Excellent work.

I would highly recommend this to anyone with a Netflix subscription.  But especially those who like their horror a little tamer and a little more slow paced.

‘Coven of Sisters’ is streaming now on Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s