Amélie (Mathilde Lamusse), Bintou (Suzy Bemba), and Morjana (Samarcande Saadi) run into a problem when the three besties decide to summon the titular demon KANDISHA over a summer break. They had reason to though. At least Amélie did anyway after her brutish ex tries to win her back by beating her senseless. What transpires is another polished piece of horror from writing-directing duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Inside, Among the Living) that may not be as fast-paced or visceral as their previous work, but it’s still a solid piece of work.

The film begins with a wide shot of the towering high-density apartment buildings in an urban part of France. Bustillo and Maury take the time, perhaps a little too much time, to show us the world that their strong female protagonists live in. With little more to do than hang out with their friends, eat gyros, and sneak into abandoned high rises marked for demolition, they are bound to find trouble. At one point the group of friends is trying to spook one another and the story of Kandisha is brought up. A vengeful female demon, this Moroccan monster is known for seducing and killing young men. When Amélie is attacked and humiliated, she privately summons Kandisha in a fit of anger. The next morning her attacker is dead. It would be easy to dismiss as coincidence if it weren’t for the fact that soon after another one of her male friends is murdered. Has Amélie unleashed a demon that she cannot control?

Lamusse’s performance as the terrified and embattled Amélie anchors a rather fantastical story as she discovers exactly what she has set loose. Of course, her job would be a lot harder in selling the story if it weren’t for the solid co-stars Bemba and Saadi‘s. The three female leads have strong chemistry that has us quickly buying into the story that would otherwise be hard to swallow. A particular scene involving a pet rabbit and a bathtub had me straining to suspend disbelief. But that is the power of a good actor.

The film pulls the viewer along as the girls attempt to solve a mystery and battle a power that has slipped from their control and we do get a decent climax. Again, Bustillo and Maury have a disciplined approach to the structure of their films that is praiseworthy even if you might not fully buy the plot. They set up expectations and rules and they follow them which is a lot more than I can say for many other movies that think they are being clever with a sudden non-sensical twist.

KANDISHA is an entertaining if a tad sluggish piece of horror. Expanding the palette of urban legends we get a new, fierce feminine succubus that has only one thing on her mind; revenge. We get three female leads that kick ass and take charge. KANDISHA is a creepy gory modern ghost story worth your 90 minutes.

7 out of 10

KANDISHA
Rating:NRNo trailer available
Runtime:1 Hr. 30 Mins.
Directed By:
Written By:Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury