Queen of Spades (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Queen of Spades (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on July 20th, 2021 | Movie Review | Cursed, Supernatural, Urban Legend, Witchcraft

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According to legend, an ominous entity known as the Queen of Spades can be summoned by performing an ancient ritual.

Queen of Spades was directed by Patrick White and stars Ava Preston (from Critters Attack!), Daniel Kash (from Mama), Kaelen Ohm, Eric Osborne (from Pyewacket), Jamie Bloch (from The Echo) and Nabil Rajo.

There are some things that should not be said in front of a mirror.

Queen of Spades Review

As any horror fan already knows, a good urban legend can be a terrific foundation for a genre film. Tried and true classics like Candyman, The Blair Witch Project, and The Ring are just a few examples that really get this idea right. Unfortunately, though, there are just as many forgettable films out there that get the same formula horrible wrong.

Directed and co-written by Patrick White, Queen of Spades is one of the latest additions to the urban legend subgenre. But is it really worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as other urban legend flicks, or is it better forgotten sooner rather than later?

Queen of Spades focuses on a Russian version of the well-known Bloody Mary legend. To summon the Queen of Spades, one draws a door and a staircase on a mirror. Those participating in the summoning must then chant the queen’s name three times. She’s said to be fickle about actually appearing, but if she does decide to grace you with her presence, she just might grant you a wish. If she’s in the mood, that is. There’s also a good chance that she’ll hurt you or otherwise harass you.

This film is about a group of teens who happen to catch the queen on a bad day and wind up facing the consequences. They first become curious about the legend when they hear a suicidal man say the words “queen of spades” before jumping to his death from a roof. After doing some research, they uncover the story of the queen’s legend and detailed instructions for summoning her.

Performing the ritual must fall to the youngest of the group, which happens to be 13-year-old Anna (Ava Preston). However, the entire group begins to experience graphic, disturbing visions once the ritual is complete. Naturally, the Queen of Spades turns out to be more than just a scary story, leaving the film’s unwitting protagonists to get to the bottom of things before they lose their lives.

If you think that Queen of Spades doesn’t sound very original, you’re right. This film is precisely what it sounds like it is -- a riff on a super familiar plot that’s been done to death many times before. However, it also manages to accomplish what it sets out to do – create and perpetuate a suspenseful atmosphere of dread, as well as deliver on a few well-executed scares. White does an excellent job of building tension and following through with some serious frights that genuinely keep the audience on their toes.

When the titular Queen of Spades does appear, she’s sufficiently scary and very well-designed. You indeed dread seeing her pop onto the screen, and she’s menacing enough that you wouldn’t want her after you on a dark, stormy night. Naturally, that’s important – an antagonist creepy enough to potentially keep you up late at night long after the final credits have rolled.

This film comes alongside its share of frustrations, as well, though. The queen’s legend and backstory are compelling enough, but their development feels rushed and hastily tacked on to the beginning of the film. And the scares, although effective, are also fairly predictable. There aren’t any that you won’t see coming a mile away. Some of the dialogue also scans as cheesy, and a few of the performances leave a lot to be desired.

Worth Watching?

Queen of Spades is a decently made scare-fest that more or less delivers on its promise and is worth seeing for that reason. Definitely check it out. Just don’t go into it expecting anything groundbreaking, innovative, or new in any sense of the word.

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