A surgeon named Michael Foster, played by Peter Gallagher, has his world turned upside down when his wife disappears one morning without a trace. Initially he suspected she was having an affair and ran away with another man, but as strange evidence gathers he soon realizes that she has been a part of a strange coven of witches and her disappearance might not have been her choice.
Originally airing on the Lifetime network, this film retains being separated into two parts on this DVD. Each part clocking in around the 90-minute mark, the first part can be a touch tedious as so little time was spent establishing the relationship between Foster and his missing wife that we have no reason to emotionally connect with the situation, aside from our hero’s despair as he searches. As all the supporting characters, along with our desperate protagonist, come to accept the supernatural truth driving the plot, by the second part, the story finds a better pace and can hold your attention with more action and moments of tension.
Gallagher does a good job as a man facing things that completely contradict his beliefs, especially since he would have spent so many years training in the medicals arts and sciences, believing only what he could physically touch and alter. Foster’s daughter is also discovering her own supernatural powers, having inherited them from her witch mother, and she eventually plays a key role in the climax. Peter Fonda positively sleepwalks his way through his role as the coven leader (or one of the leaders…or something), as well as through a next-to useless side-plot about a mayoral election. All in all, the entire cast does a decent playing their roles with conviction, despite the odd bout with hammy dialogue.
I wish that the director did more to convey the presence of supernatural powers aside fro flickering lights, reaction shots played in fast-forward and bad, canned sound effects. Without something more to stimulate our senses, it becomes more of a challenge for the actors to convince us that what they are encountering is truly uncanny.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture goes to a strange, washed out haze for flashbacks and moments featuring magic powers so often that it can be hard to judge whether the picture is good or not. Thankfully it is counter-balanced by a ton of night time shots that establish a cleaner view, with sharper black tones and unbleached colours.
Dolby Digital Stereo. Once I was again to turn my brain off from the lame, over-used canned sound effects, then I could hear that the sound was not too shabby. Had they used 5.1 I could have appreciated the deadly moments of high tension better, but never got that opportunity for immersion. It seems that whenever this film lacks in one spot (be it sound quality, tone of action, dialogue) it places the burden onto something else. That’s how I feel about the sound, it is lacking in any flare and so the visuals must do all the work to bring me in.
This film (or mini-series) plays out like a conspiracy thriller with a supernatural device. It was tough to get into the action at first but eventually things get rolling when all parties are in on the secrets. It has its pluses and its minuses, ranging as far as its overused titles to a real question mark of an ending. Worthwhile for fans of Thrillers I suppose.