31 Days Of Streaming Horror: 'Pyewacket' Is A Family Drama Wrapped Up In A Horror Movie

Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October we'll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today's entry: Pyewacket (2017).


Now Streaming on Hulu

Sub-Genre: Mother-daughter drama – with demonsBest Setting to Watch It In: In your secluded house deep in the woodsHow Scary Is It?: There are scares aplenty

I watch a lot of horror movies (you've probably guessed that by now), which means I've been dulled to them in many ways. I can predict where they're usually going, I can spot their influences, and I can still enjoy them while not always being blown away by them. So when a horror movie comes out of seemingly nowhere and knocks me flat, it's thrilling.

Such was the case with Pyewacket, Adam MacDonald's indie horror film that plays out like Ladybird meets The Witch. The story follows teen Leah (Nicole Muñoz, phenomenal here), an only child still reeling from her father's death. Dad's demise has left Leah all alone with her mother (Laurie Holden), and the two do not get along. They're constantly at odds, and the only solace Leah has is in the occult – a topic she's obsessed with.

After a particularly nasty argument with mom, Leah decides enough is enough and, in a fit of rage, storms off into the woods with the intent of summoning a demon to bump her mother off. The conjuring seemingly fails, and Leah is relieved, realizing she was acting harshly and hastily and that she doesn't really want her mother dead. Leah's comfort in her apparent failure is short-lived, because strange, unexplainable stuff begins to happen, throwing the teenager's world upside down. Is there really a demon lurking? Is Leah going crazy? Whatever the explanation, the results are chilling.

Following in the footsteps of some of the best horror movies, Pyewacket takes a familiar, relatable topic – in this case, a tempestuous relationship with a parent – and uses it as a springboard for something terrifying. Working with a limited budget, MacDonald was still able to create a horror movie loaded with an oppressive, spooky atmosphere – one that keeps you guessing, and keeps on surprising you, with every turn.