Autumn TV Recommendation: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I’m four episodes into this show and I’m feeling a lot of things. It’s not perfect by any means. Like Riverdale, it’s taken a story we know and love, and given it a dark modern twist. I guess it’s aimed at a YA audience and that might be why I don’t love it as much as I want to. Yet, anyway.

That said I’ve only dipped my foot in so far and there are a lot of things I do like, so I’m going to keep on going. The upside is that it’s come out at just the right time of year – and it’s a show my husband will actually willingly watch with me.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.

Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) isn’t like most girls. She’s half-witch, half-mortal for a start and as her 16th birthday approaches, she must make a decision that none of us have ever had to make: sign herself over the the Dark Lord himself in exchange for unimaginable power or… not.

Meanwhile, there’s the issue of her boyfriend Harvey, and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair) to consider. How’s she supposed to leave them all behind to start a new life at witch school? Especially when Susie’s being horribly bullied.

Can she conceivably live a normal mortal life or will her magical side win out? These are the things Sabrina is working through with a little help from her aunts and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). I think he’s her cousin.

I adore Zelda and Hilda. Ambrose too is delicious and a welcome addition to the Spellman household. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar so far is mute which I find disappointing but I guess it’s to be expected in this contemporary retelling. Still, it’s disappointing as he always used to get the best lines in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

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I’m also quite enamored with Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez), Sabrina’s teacher who is currently possessed by a demon who feasts on male flesh (yay). Although there is sure to be more drama afoot, at the moment she is an ally of the girls’ at school, advocating their women’s group and now, their banned books club.

And finally, the Weird Sisters, the mean girls who rule witch school. They’re so gloriously bitchy and wonderful. I expect big things from them. So yes, there is a lot to love so far and with so many TV shows, it’s more about the supporting characters than the main ones. I’m not quite sold on Sabrina the protagonist yet but there is time.

I’d like more magic, more bitchiness and less romancing Harvey. I want less school unless it’s about the feminist women’s club and I want more Madam Satan.

This show is proving to be very inter-sectional and feminist, I can only hope that continues. There have been some great lines while the whole concept of Sabrina not handing over her freedom to the devil, even if he can give her all the power and magic in the world is an interesting one. It’s bold to say no to the big man himself, and Sabrina is ruffling feathers left and right.

As she says herself, she wants freedom AND power. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I, for the record, would grab power and sign over my name in a heartbeat.

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What are you watching?

3 Witchy Horrors

None of these are really horror movies and one of them is pretty much a kids movie – but you can always argue that they contain horror themes and that’s enough for me.

I bet you all thought I’d choose Hocus Pocus for this list, didn’t you? I totally nearly did but young Michelle Pfeiffer pipped it to the post. I’ve no regrets.

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Relatable AF

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Men are such cocksuckers aren’t they? You don’t have to answer that. It’s true. They’re scared. Their dicks get limp when confronted by a woman of obvious power and what do they do about it? Call them witches, burn them, torture them, until every woman is afraid. Afraid of herself… afraid of men… and all for what? Fear of losing their hard-on. ~ Daryl Van Horne

What do you get when you put three of the hottest women of all time together, and then add Jack Nicholson? You get this charming film about a trio of witches who discover their hidden powers (and sexuality) when the devil comes to town.

There’s just something so delicious about The Witches of Eastwick. I feel as though it really captures a moment in time, the zeitgeist of the eighties. By casting the hottest actresses onscreen at that time, it’s a snap shot of a bygone era of film and I couldn’t love it more. It’s witty, grotesque and it also has a lot to say about grabbing life by the balls, even if the balls are attached to a very bad man indeed. Or indeed are a metaphor for something so much more fulfilling.

I can’t choose my favourite of the three, they’re all so gorgeous in their own ways; Suki (Pfeiffer) is the earth mother, Alex (Cher), the artistic hippy and Jane (Sarandon), the secretly sexual sex kitten music teacher. But together they’re a force to be reckoned with and what’s more satisfying than that?

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Resting Witch Faces

The Craft (1996)

We are the weirdos, mister. ~ Nancy

This is such a bitchy film and I was obsessed with it when it was first released, not least because I was ‘of an age’ (or maybe just a little bit older) that it all made sense. Especially the outcast aspect of the movie which fuels the narrative.

Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True) are three ordinary girls who aren’t particularly successful or significant in the high-school hierarchy. When Sarah (Robin Tunney) comes to town, she seems to be the perfect fourth pillar of the group. A group that needs things a certain way in order to make things happen. Magic things.

Well, it’s all a lesson in being careful what you wish for. After all, with power comes a fuck ton of responsibility and teenage girls aren’t always the most reliable, especially when they can make their bully’s hair fall out with a simple spell.

As things begin to spiral out of control and our friends begin to change (not for the better), one of them has to the tow the line before everything is lost forever. Can she? Also: Oh hi, Skeet Ulrich*swoon*

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The girls’ Bake Off showstopper was going well

Practical Magic (1998)

There’s a little witch in all of us. ~ Aunt Jet Owens

I guess you could say this is a Vintage edition of witch movies since none of them are from this millennium. *Shrug* – I love what I love and that’s that.

Practical Magic is adorable, hopeful and has a banging 90’s soundtrack – so as far as I’m concerned it’s up there with the best of them. Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman) are sisters who come from a long line of witches. Including Aunt Frances (Stockard Channing) and Aunt Jet (Dianne Wiest).

They’re very different people. Sally is a homebody while Gillian is a free spirit with a tendency to disappear for long stretches, usually with strange, sexy men in tow. When Sally loses the love of her life in a tragic accident, she is beside herself with grief and Gillian comes home to be with her and her children, in the house they all share with the Aunts.

Little does Sally know there’s an ulterior motive and the sisters bite off almost more than they can chew when they re-animate Gillian’s latest lover – the abusive and accidentally dead Jimmy (Goran Visnjic) – using old school magique. Shame that neither got the memo that what is dead should probably stay dead, eh? Bit of a pisser too that the cop (Aidan Quinn) who turns up to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Jimmy, also happens to be connected to a very specific spell cast by Sally…

God I adore this movie. Both leads are dreamy as fuck and the Stevie Nicks heavy soundtrack will always have a place on my (outdated) iPod shuffle. *Sigh*

So yes, I could of chosen The Witch, The Blair Witch Project, The Lords of Salem – even The Love Witch for this list – and they are all fine movies – but these are the ones I want to pay tribute to today. Sue me.

What are your favourites?

The Sisterhood of Night (Film) Review

We’re having a Free for All this month because Melanie Lynskey Month was so inspired, how do you follow immediately on from that? Plus, we’re lazy, what of it?

To this week’s pick which I will say was rather an interesting one!

*Spoilers*

The Sisterhood of Night (2014)

IMDB Synopsis

When a teenage girl says she’s the victim of a secret network called The Sisterhood of Night, a quiet suburban town becomes the backdrop for a modern-day Salem witch trial.

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I always wear my tiara to sleepovers too

My Review

Ah teenage girls. Thank fuck I never have to be one again. Though, I wonder, had I been a teen in this movie, would I have made it into the Sisterhood? I’m pretty sure not.

Mary Warren (Georgie Henley) is kind of a big deal (or so she believes) at her high school and enjoys a rivalry with good girl Emily Parris (Kara Hayward from Moonrise Kingdom). Things come to a head on the day Mary steals Emily’s thunder at a drama rehearsal and Emily, in turn, steals Mary’s phone and publishes her private texts online, on her own blog. The blog has ‘rainbow’ in the title, that’s all I remember.

To get her back Mary accuses Emily of being a ‘blog whore’ which I don’t really understand but never mind. Emily embarrasses herself by not knowing how to properly pronounce ‘whore’. (The W is silent, dear).

Shortly afterwards, Mary posts a mysterious (yet attention seeking) Facebook status saying she is taking a vow of silence.  She then deletes all her social media. You ok, hun?

“Your secret: My favourite film is White Chicks, is safe with us.”

She doesn’t disappear altogether though, unfortunately as we soon learn she’s set up something called the Sisterhood and has enlisted her first members, Catherine Huang (Willa Cuthrell) and Lavinia Hall (Olivia DeJonge). The girls hold a meeting during a school dance and Catherine shares a deep dark secret with the others. The vow of silence forbids the girls from ever sharing each other’s secrets or talking about the Sisterhood to anybody outside the Sisterhood.

Word quickly spreads and Mary’s school mates become obsessed with the Sisterhood. This is only exacerbated by the silence surrounding them. And like all good bandwagons, everyone wants in – nobody more than blog whore Emily. Members are personally picked by Mary though, so she’s shit out of luck.

Emily blows her chances by being a Class A dickhead so she has no choice but to use nefarious means to find out what the fuck’s really going on. She gatecrashes a night-time meeting (all Sisterhood meetings are held after dark) and well, after that let’s just say things escalate quickly.

“Oh okey kokey kokey..”

Emily takes to her blog and publishes tales of dirty chants, girls touching themselves and each other – before claiming they cut her hand and touched her too.

This sets off a bizarre chain of events as a couple of other girls come forward with similar stories about the Sisterhood, and the vow of silence doesn’t help clear things up. Especially as Mary doesn’t hate the drama.

I’m not going to go through every side story and detail but know that each of the girls has their own personal struggle to contend with. Lavinia has a mother who’s just started dating, much to her horror; Catherine’s mother is terminally ill and Mary has a secret boyfriend who’s not crazy about the creeping around. As a result the trio are in regular meetings with the school’s guidance councilor, Gordy (Harold & Kumar‘s Kal Penn!) who is adorable and harboring a crush on Lavinia’s mother, Rose (Laura Fraser).

EVERY good teen movie features a version of this scene

The school grapevine leads us, and our central protagonists, into some dark territory as the hysteria rises and gossip spreads like wildfire. Some of the girls want to break the code in order to stop the rumours once and for all but Mary says she’s got it all in hand.

Meanwhile, Emily’s blog is overwhelmed by girls coming forward about their own experiences of sexual abuse and becomes a safe place for them to talk about their feelings as a result. Emily starts to grow as a person and feels bad for having hatched a horrible plan to get Lavinia to admit that the girls are the satanic worshipping witches everyone thinks they are. (Involving some cheerleaders, but of course and a boy Lavinia has the hots for).

Emily calls Lavinia to warn her but does she make it in time? While we’re asking questions: What is the Sisterhood anyway? And what is the truth about that night with Emily in the woods?

Well, that’s it from me. I think this is quite an interesting film and I’m glad I’ve seen it. The comments it makes about how quickly a mystery can write itself if you court it is intriguing, and the film isn’t scared to examine real life issues that young girls actually go through.

It touches upon teenage sexuality in a non-gratuitous way and I find that quite impressive. The girls themselves seem like actual real girls too and I think that went some way to pulling me in and keeping my attention. Ultimately, it ends in a positive way which I wasn’t unhappy about.

Hey, if you’re a fan of high school movies or teen dramas, this might very well be the film for you. You could do a lot worse.

My Rating

3.5/5. Not bad. 

How does my blog wife think about this? Would she enlist it into the Sisterhood or make bitchy comments about it online? Find out here