Stories of redemption can cover any genre, some being those of the grittier and more violent nature. Usually associated with thrillers, westerns and crime, King knight takes a gentler approach that is surprisingly wholesome and slightly comedic. Bearing the tagline ‘not your basic witches’ sums up this story about a leader who hasn’t been completely honest with those he loves and those that follow him. Witches, spells and rituals all do appear in the story but its not really about being wiccan, it’s about being honest and true to yourself, and seeking redemption along the way.
Thorn lives with his life partner Willow and together they lead their Wiccan coven in rituals as well as offering couples counselling for their followers. Thorn designs bird baths while Willow is registered nurse. He seems content but desires to have children, though Willow is hesitant. When Thorn is invited to his 20-year high school reunion, it unearths some truths he had tried to bury. Feeling that he has deceived them, the coven banishes Thorn, leaving him to walk the long road back to his home town and to confront the past.
Though beginning as a somewhat deadpan comedic approach to the Wiccan religion, the film very quickly steps away from making light of rituals and celebrations that occur. There is a hint of comedy but this comes from the coven members and their leaders’ personalities rather than what they all believe. Although slightly odd at first, the film easily slides into a much more harmonious story. Its unbelievable refreshing to see Wiccans represented in this way. Though I’m sure there are those who might criticise the films for not being wholly accurate. The coven of characters all range from various backgrounds, running their own successful businesses and experiencing their own relationship issues. It seems every couple is going through something, from the trivial argument about what to call a dog and from feeling jealous of their partner. These universal issues grounds the films and doesn’t so much as say it but paints the image, Wiccans are just like everyone, remember that. The film does this by not ‘other-ing’ the characters and this is what is refreshing to watch.
The comedic tone shifts into place with the discovery that Thorn lied about his past and how that he has not always been a Wiccan. He used to be class President and plays sports and was ‘popular’ in high school. But it’s not the fact he was all these things, enforced on him by his judgmental mother, but that he lied. His banishment from the coven and his determination to ‘come out of the broom closet’ to all his old school classmates is where the comedy kicks in. The strange hallucinations of Merlin, being chased by park rangers and finally revealing his true self is amusing. Thorn finds redemption, forgiveness and happiness all over again, making his personal journey, like the film, unexpectedly wholesome.
A strange oddity, which makes sense as the film premiered at Fantasia Film Festival 2021, that is a surprisingly enjoyable watch whether you have no idea about Wiccans or you have explored this religion for your awakening.
King Knight is available from 8th August on digital download