You really think you summoned a ghost from your bathroom mirror?– Morjana
Day 12 of the 2021 Fright Festival and I’m cheating a bit with this one. I actually saw Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s 2020 effort Kandisha a month ago and decided to give it another watch so that I’d have an excuse to talk about it.
Ostensibly, the film is your standard ‘avenging spirit on a rampage’ story, but it has some deep roots in Moroccan folklore, and Bustillo and Maury don’t shy away from examining the social and cultural context that gives the titular spirit her potency. The urban sprawl of Paris provides an effective backdrop for the struggles – both supernatural and otherwise – for Mathilde Lamusse’s Amélie and her friends Morjana and Bintou, played by Samarcande Saadi and Suzy Bemba, respectively. Mériem Sarolie’s Kandisha is eerily graceful as she hunts her prey – six men, starting with Amélie’s violent ex and then moving onto less deserving prey – even as her form becomes increasingly demonic.
While somewhat sedate for its first two acts, it kicks into high gear for the third after Amélie and co. seek a consultation with a local sorcerer and his apprentice, and attempt an ultimately unsuccessful exorcism. As an increasingly more monstrous Kandisha stalks her prey, including Amélie’s younger brother, things spiral towards a bloody – and grim – resolution, that puts me in mind of the ending to Candyman (1992).
Honestly, I went into this not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. But it’s a fun flick, and one I think you should check out at least once. I give it four goat-legged demon-women out of five.