Monday, July 19, 2021

Kandisha (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Kandisha (2021)
Genre: Horror
Length:  85 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Esprits Frappeurs, Wy Productions, SND Films, Tiberius Film, Shudder
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Writers: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Actors: Bakary Diombera, Dylan Krief, Félix Glaux-Delporto, Mathilde Lamusse, Mériem Sarolie, Nassim Si Ahmed, Samarcande Saadi, Sandor Funtek, Suzy Bemba, Walid Afkir
Blurb from IMDb:  It's summer break and best friends Amélie, Bintou and Morjana hang together with other neighborhood teens. Nightly, they have fun sharing scary stories and urban legends. But when Amélie is assaulted by her ex, she remembers the story of Kandisha, a powerful and vengeful demon. Afraid and upset, Amélie summons her. The next day, her ex is found dead. The legend is true and now Kandisha is on a killing spree--and it's up to the three girls to break the curse.

Cat’s Point of View:
There are very few movies that I have voluntarily stopped watching in the middle. If I had decided to watch Kandisha in my spare time, and it wasn’t for need to review this for the blog, this film would have joined that short list.
This is really not the fault of the story, acting, or effects. Kandisha forfeited any sort of recommendation on my behalf the moment I failed to see a disclaimer at the end of the credits regarding animal welfare.
There is a little white rabbit in this movie, and it is involved in quite a horrific scene. I get the scene’s importance to the story. I don’t think the distress it was exhibiting on screen was created with effects. HOWEVER, it is entirely plausible that digital wizardry could have been skillfully employed here. If that’s the case, whoever rendered the rabbit effects deserves a raise. The results were highly disturbing. There is no way I can prove one way or another that a live bunny was used in the scene. The lack of the ‘no animals were harmed in the making of this movie’ disclaimer just erodes away my faith and hope.
It’s of the utmost importance that I convey with clarity that there is no proof of wrongdoing here.

France has different animal welfare laws than we do in the United States, and in many places, rabbits are still seen as livestock rather than pets in the way cats and dogs are. Unfortunately, for that reason, I am not even sure if there are any protections in place for them in the film industry there. I tried to research before writing this article. I found that there’s quite a bit of legislation that is being brought forward and debated to improve animal welfare laws in the EU. France is reportedly a little behind the curve and there are vast gaps that animals such as rabbits fall into. It’s promising that there could be some changes to the laws in the foreseeable future.
I am a pet parent to 2 rescue bunnies – one of whom experienced physical trauma at the hands of the breeder who was her original owner. (Cattle tags don’t belong in delicate rabbit ears!) I tried like hell to suspend my disbelief regarding the treatment of the rabbit. It didn’t work. I couldn’t manage to keep an unbiased perspective.
Rabbits are so easy to stress by nature, as prey animals. They can sometimes get so scared that they could have a heart attack and die on the spot or even inadvertently break their own bones. They’re that fragile. My brain simply noped out the second I heard sounds of distress coming from that poor bunny – even if they could have been added in post-production.

Here’s the thing.
Had the rabbit issue not been a part of the movie? I would have enjoyed Kandisha. The lore surrounding the vengeful demon was interesting. I found it further fascinating that it originated in Morocco. I also appreciated how they represented the demon, itself. The effects, both practical and otherwise, they used for her were quite good. I also appreciated the ending.
Please keep in mind, it's not the quality of the film that is reflected in my rating or review here - my dislike is based on my own personal biases. 

If you want to see Kandisha for yourself, it premieres on Shudder Thursday, July 22.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.8/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5
Movie Trailer:

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