Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 26th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: France, 2006
Director: Francois Merlin
Cast: Yann Joseph, Gilles Landucci, Ulrich Waselinck, Alexandre Guegan, Nicolas Tary, Nicolas Verdoux
DVD released: October 30th, 2007
Approximate running time: 106 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo French
DVD Release: Salvation Films/Redemption
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Witching Hour is not conventional horror film despite its title and many of the characters witches, zombies and demons all these things being fixtures in the horror genre. If anything it is an action film as with its wall to wall ass kicking and bloodletting. The action sequences are all done will great style and execution. The most entertaining fight scene in the film is the one where the group of friends’ raid a building they suspect has the gem they are looking and what follows is mass carnage at the hands of these five men who kill at 100 or more of their enemies and suffer no casualties. This unbelievable moment of mass killing sets up the tone for the rest of the film by letting you know that anything is game and can or will happen in this film.
The acting in the Witching Hour is definitely the films strongest weakness as not a single performer comes across as anything more amateurish or way to over the top. The Witching Hour also wears many of its influences on its sleeve like the dinner scene which is similar to the one in Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the fight scene where a witch is fighting a man in bandages with a chainsaw this scene appears to be a homage too director Quentin Tarantino. The witch in the scene slightly resembles the Go-Go character with her school girl appears and a chain with a razor ball on the end to top things off. The films oddly constructed soundtrack is compiled of brief sections of famous pop songs like Motley Crue’s “Too Young too Fall in Love”, Kiss’s “Christine 16” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” .
The story for The Witching Hour is pretty simple hire a group of thugs to retrieve a valuable gem and yet despite this pretty straight forward plot device the viewer may find themselves scratching their heads while watching the film wondering how the hell did story end up here. Also there are other plot holes like how in an earlier battle the group of friends all survived and none of them where shot. Then later in the film they are all shells of their former selves as they drop like flies. While there are many things that I like about The Witching Hour like the action sequences there is just far too many things that don’t quite gel or make sense which makes it hard for me recommend this film, so proceed at own risk.
The Witching Hour is a shot on video production and the transfer at time is not a sharp or colorful as it could be because of the source material. The interlaced image looks jittery and darker scenes lack shadow detail. The transfer while not perfect is more than watchable and most of its flaws are most likely due to the films low budget origins.
This release comes with only one audio choice French and English subtitles have been included. The audio fares better then the image part of this movie with the mix sounding balanced and robust.
Extras for this release include the Original French Language Trailer for The Witching Hour, a photo gallery (14 stills), deleted & extended scenes (20 minutes), trailers for other Redemption titles current on or soon to be released on DVD and a promo trailer for the book “Blood & Honor”. Redemptions latest release the Witching Hour is one of the most usual and confusing genre hybrid you will ever see.