Back in 2014, a certain something on the Toronto International Film Festival line-up caught my eye simply because I’ve got a hard time saying no to a lost-in-the-woods horror film. Then came this clip and immediately after that, Backcountry became a must-see. Ultimately I did catch it and not only have I enjoyed it many times since its TIFF debut, but it’s kept me eagerly awaiting director Adam MacDonald’s second film. A little over three years later, Pyewacket is here and as hoped, his second directorial effort is worth the wait and also suggests MacDonald has the skillset to grow, thrive and terrorize within the genre through powerful builds and highly character-driven storytelling.
This time around his main players are Leah (Nicole Muñoz) and her mother played by The Walking Dead‘s Laurie Holden. There’s some serious tension between the two and that doesn’t result in your typical angsty teen vs. overbearing mother shouting matches. Leah has an interest in black magic and after a particularly heated argument, she turns to a dangerous ritual with the power to unleash an entity known as Pyewacket.
The trailer features some extreme circumstances but MacDonald does great work capturing the frustration of the traditional mother-daughter feud, letting Leah’s decision to turn to Pyewacket really get under your skin, making it one that can be tough to shake after the movie ends. Check out our exclusive Pyewacket trailer below. Pyewacket is in theaters now in Canada and opens in the US on March 23rd via IFC Midnight.
Here’s the official synopsis for Pyewacket:
When you’re dealing with demons, be careful what you wish for… In this ultra-unsettling occult nightmare, teenage Leah (Nicole Muñoz) finds solace from the recent death of her father—and from her strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Holden)—by dabbling in the dark arts. It all seems like harmless fun at first, until a blow out argument leads Leah to do the unthinkable: put a death curse on her mother. No sooner has the girl performed the ritual than she regrets it. But it may be too late, as an evil presence known as Pyewacket begins to make itself known—and threatens to destroy both mother and daughter. Backcountry director Adam MacDonald builds hair-raising tension around what’s both a complex mother-daughter tale and a frightening fable about our darkest desires.