We are in the third month of 2021 and Netflix has released some amazing content so far. Several horror stories released and the latest addition is Coven of Sisters aka Akelarre. It’s a Spanish film directed by Pablo Agüero. The film stars Amaia Aberasturi, Jone Laspiur, Yune Nogueiras, Garazi Urkola, Àlex Brendemühl, Daniel Fanego, and Irati Saez de Urabain. What makes the film worth a watch? Keep reading the review.
The story of Coven of Sisters is set in Basque Country in 1609. An inquisitor and his men visit Basque because they get to know there’s a group of young witches there who performed Sabbath. Sabbath is considered an unholy act where witches come together and call the Devil, Lucifer. They dance around, sing the incantation, lure the devil and perform sinning acts.
When the inquisitor Rostegui (Àlex Brendemühl) and his men come to Basque Country, they capture 6 girls in a closed room. The reason these girls are held in captivity is that they had danced the night before which led them to suspect that they are witches. I found it a ridiculous reason to cite someone as a witch until I saw the scene when Rostegui tells his men the story of a dancing woman and how it is an evil act. Well, that’s 1606, even a laughing woman was doubted to be possessed by an evil spirit.
The 6 girls who are captured are given brutal treatment. Individually, they are interrogated and asked to confess to witchcraft. No matter how much these girls would tell them that they are not witches, the hunt wouldn’t stop. They were mentally tortured, brutalised and subjected to harsh punishments. From the group, Ana, played by Amaia Aberasturi, tells her fellow sisters that no matter how much they cry, the men won’t believe them. So they decide they’ll lie about being one and tell fake stories. Ana takes the onus on herself and says that she is the main witch and shares how she lured Lucifer and performed Sabbath.
Coven of Sisters highlights how inhuman people can be when indulging in the practice of witch hunt. People leave you horrified to such a grave extent that you give in to the crime you’ve not even done. Last year, we have seen how a certain actress was subjected to a witch-hunt by people on the internet. There’s no shame left when they want to destroy a woman.
In Coven of Sisters, when Ana tells Rostegui that she is the witch, you believe her. As the story proceeds, you start believing that maybe she really is a witch. But the writer again shows that no, she isn’t. It’s tricky. That’s what keeps you glued till the end. It’s a solid and intriguing screenplay written by Katell Guillou along with director Pablo Agüero. It is sepia-toned for most of its runtime that gives us the dreaded feeling of pain, anguish and horror. It’s the feeling these girls feel because of how they are trapped.
Amaia Aberasturi as Ana gives a powerful performance. She makes you question if she’s really a witch or just pretending. Her act blended well with Pablo’s story which also keeps us glued and question many things. Alex Brendemühl as Rostegui is another notable performance in the film. The transition of his character is mindblowing. The rest of the cast of Coven of Sisters also give chilling performances as the girls trapped in a shabby room, accused of witchcraft.
Coven of Sisters: Is it worth it?
Pablo Agüero has shown us that horror can be presented on screen without scary ghost faces and unnecessary scary background music. Sometimes, it requires a compelling story, the right set-up, exceptional writers and performers. Coven of Sisters aka Akelarre may or may not have witches, but the story bewitches you. You should not miss out on this remarkable dark Spanish thriller.
Coven of Sisters is streaming on Netflix.
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