The Queen of Black Magic is a remake of a film of the same name that follows a group of now-adult orphans that return to their orphanage home for a reunion and to say their goodbyes to the now-bedridden old man that cared for them in their youth. As strange happenings begin to occur and violence befalls the group, buried secrets begin to emerge and the terrible past they left behind returns with a vengeance.
The Queen of Black Magic Review
The Queen of Black Magic boasts an array of well-executed horror tropes that pays homage not just to the original 1981 film, but also many horror classics and modern day gems. At the expense of solid acting performances, we are exposed to some intense, frightening, and disgusting set pieces that make you wince and gag. The power of the film is in its haunting atmosphere and visual successes, but the lack of originality in the plot does drag things down a bit.
The "twists" are predictable enough that they feel more like methodical checkpoints in the narrative. We aren't given anything new in this regard, even from a remake standpoint. You could have not seen any of the original and guessed accurately exactly where everything is going. That doesn't feel like the point though, as the story feels like an extravagant means to get to the horror set pieces, of which the film has plenty.
The set pieces are grotesque and disgusting in most scenes, with moments of terror mixed in. The atmosphere is well-built at the beginning of the film, but there are a few moments when everything starts to manifest into violence that it feels like the pacing hobbles and shifts with a limping stride that never completely slows down, but doesn't effectively ramp up. Eventually the viscera hits the fan at full blast, so it doesn't really matter.
The visuals are well executed, though the constantly used CG insects are glaringly cartoonish in certain light. Yet, there is a strong enough blend between CG and practical effects that keep the gruesome realism in some scenes at a peak and make you squirm like the writhing centipedes pouring from newfound orifices.
The supernatural revenge tale is nothing new, and any mystery to be had is harder and harder to find. This film doesn't find any new ground, but instead chooses to hover over oft-tread paths like the witch that descends upon the home. It allows for a solid horror film that isn't going to wow your sophistication, but certainly satisfy your superficial horror needs, if you can see past a few of the acting and CG gaffes. There are enough impressive moments to counterbalance the weaknesses, and at least offer a fun time.
This film is a Shudder Original, so you can catch it there on the streaming service at your leisure.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 5/10