It is a plain fact that witches, the Devil or any combination thereof make a horror movie that much better. Witches can be alluring and beautiful or utterly hideous, good or bad or simply crazy and almost always, completely unpredictable. When you factor in the Lord of Darkness, whether witches are present or not, you know there is some evil about to go down. The Devil = bad news, no two ways about it. You can have rotten people, monsters from the deep, killers or what have you, but there is nothing so evil as the combination of witches and old Satan himself, or more accurately his influence, of which this television movie of the week just so happened to feature. The end result of that turned this unassuming piece of celluloid into a truly captivating film and one any horror fan or even casual viewer would enjoy.
Starring Hope Lange as Maggie Porter, a woman who has just inherited Crowhaven Farm, she is excited at first for the change in scenery, but once on the property, she immediately knows that something is wrong. Maggie wants to leave, but as he is having problems in her marriage and her husband Ben wants to stay, she decides she can tough it out despite all of her misgivings. It turns out that Maggie should have listened to herself as she soon starts to have visions of the past, a scary little girl enters the picture, John Carradine makes himself known as the crotchety old handyman and some witches – Puritan witches at that, come back for a little old-time revenge against Maggie for breaking her covenant with their lord, the Devil.
You are not only ten minutes into the movie when you realize that this is going to be a very compelling exercise in fright. The scares in this film come not from where you would expect, but from the excellent performances the cast manages to give, not to mention the script and story by John McGreevey. You would immediately think that it would be Carradine who would be the main antagonist after seeing his name in the credits and how can you not after the man made a career out of playing the villain. Suffice it to say, it is the exact opposite and while he might be a creepy old man, it is the little girl named Jennifer that really sends the shivers up your spine and in more ways than one.
Lange is superb as the woman who slowly comes to the realization that there is more to the people and the surroundings than meets the casual eye. As things progress in the movie, it becomes ever more suspenseful and a little more frightening once you begin to see that the entire situation from the very beginning was more like a set-up so that these ancient witches could get their revenge on the woman whom they thought had wronged them. If there is anything that you take away from this movie, it is that revenge is a strong motivator and little girls with the mark of the Devil on their back are never to be trusted.
Crowhaven Farm is horror done right, a tense, slow burn that rewards the viewer in the end and a film that you will not soon forget. Well worth discovering for those that seek it out.
4 out of 5