Characters that encounter or choose to dabble in black magic find themselves on a fast track to horror. Over their heads and their very souls at risk. Whether it’s witchcraft, Hoodoo, voodoo, or a simple séance that went wrong, all will cause irreparable harm to the careless.
This week’s horror picks feature characters empowered or shattered by black magic, leaving heartbreak and a body count in their wake.
As always, here’s where you can stream them this week.
A Dark Song – AMC+, Shudder
Sophia Howard rents an isolated house in the countryside and contracts unsavory occultist Joseph Solomon to implement the Abramelin Operation, a grueling 18-month magical ceremony to attain knowledge and conversation with one’s guardian angel to have their wish granted. But Sophia has a hidden agenda that puts their very lives and souls at risk. Liam Gavin’s feature debut gives a refreshing take on black magic and ritual occultism with a slow atmospheric burn that refuses to depict effortless mastery of the dark arts.
Eve’s Bayou – HBO Max
Kasi Lemmons’ feature directorial debut uses Southern mysticism and curses to expose insidious family secrets slowly. It follows young Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett). The ten-year-old discovers her father’s serial infidelity, prompting her to dabble with Hoodoo and driving conflict between her and her family. Memories can be fickle and unreliable, leading to catastrophe for the Batiste family and heartbreaking truths. Eve’s Bayou is expertly crafted and stacked with powerful performances, but perhaps none as impressive as young Smollett.
Pyewacket – AMC+, Shudder
From writer/director Adam MacDonald (Backcountry), Pyewacket centers around angsty teen Leah Reyes (Nicole Munoz), harboring serious resentment over her mother uprooting their lives after her father’s death. After a blowout argument, Leah performs an occult ritual and wishes for the demise of her mother. She doesn’t realize she’s summoned the witch Pyewacket, who’s come to grant that wish. This film is an atmospheric tale full of creepy and unsettling moments, and it bides its time building an emotionally resonant and tumultuous relationship between a struggling mother and daughter.
Starry Eyes – AMC+, IMDb TV, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu
Sarah (Alex Essoe) wants so badly to make it as an actress that she’s willing to do anything. Her desperate ambition catches the attention of a cult within the Hollywood elite, who offers to grant her greatest wish if she’s ready to sell her soul. Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Satanic take on Hollywood fame is filled with gross body horror, a shocking descent, and a delightfully brutal final act.
Suspiria (2018)- Prime Video
Set in Berlin during the fall of 1977, a prominent dance company’s lead dancer disappears just in time for aspiring dancer Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) to arrive in the hopes of claiming a coveted spot within the troupe. She quickly catches the eye of the artistic director, Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), and is brought under her wing. But the art of the dance is the perfect cover for spellcasting, and the faculty behind the dance company is a coven of witches. Luca Guadagnino’s methodical vision makes for a very different beast, biding its time with witchy horror until a glorious bloodbath of a finale.