Review: The Coven

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When I first encountered this film, I was initially struck by the rather obvious attempt to mimic “The Craft” on its advertising poster. I then read the poster’s claim to be “based upon true events”, which very often these days seems to mean that the writer is aware of a real event happening, but in no way is the story actually connected to those events. This movie is one of those.

It turns out that the events that the movie is supposedly based upon, are the meetings of The Regency in North London’s Queens Wood.

A movie entitled “The Coven”, based on Robert Cochrane’s witchcraft group? That should at least peek a Pagan’s interest. But you can slide back from the edge of your seats, as this movie features neither Cochrane, nor any kind of modern Pagan witchcraft.

The movie opens with secondary school teacher, Mr. Sheers (Dexter Fletcher), giving a rather dubious lesson to his class, regarding Wicca and NeoPaganism. Sentences involving words like “Pagan”, “Cochrane” and “Gardner” are tossed in idly, showing that the writer at least put in some effort to research the subject, even if the movie completely disregards its reality.

Subtly encouraged by a demonic substitute teacher, a group of mildly delinquent school girls are then enticed into an overnight Halloween camping trip in London’s Queens Wood, where they fall foul of the machinations of Lucifer. The girls and a handful of other unfortunates, then spend the rest of the night pursued through the woods by a supernatural motor-biker, bent on driving them towards a horrible end.

This movie is terrible and in some regards possibly even offensive, from a Pagan standpoint. However, that being said, it does have a couple of charming features. The movie contains a manufactured nursery rhyme, which is suitably creepy and Dexter Fletcher is a seasoned actor, who always carries himself well on screen. The cast of young people are arguably not bad actors and it would be nice to see them given some better roles to work with in the future. Madeleine Rose Witney particularly carries herself well and Kazim Benson also looks like he could handle a better role.

The film ends with the declaration that: “Many of the events mentioned in this film are fact and actually occurred. The Coven in Queens Woods is regularly used as a working Pagan ceremonial site. During the making of this film the crew were warned off the coven by a group of witches.”

We can only imagine how that encounter went down.

It continues: “Robert Cochrane was an infamous Witch and Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain. He claimed to be from a line of witches dating back to the 17th century. He committed the ultimate human sacrifice in June 1966 (6-66).”

I would not be surprised if some took offense at Cochrane being used in this way and found it distasteful to refer to his tragic suicide as “the ultimate human sacrifice”.

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