The Ones You Didn’t Burn finds two estranged siblings returning home after their father’s death. As they prepare to sell the land, they stumble upon the long-buried secret of who their land belongs to.
The Ones You Didn’t Burn starts interestingly enough with the father’s cryptic voicemails he leaves before his death. Because this movie screams witches, it felt like a given that this was about to devolve into chaos. However, after about fifteen minutes, the movie starts to meander toward its conclusion. The stakes are never raised during the film, which makes it hard to invest in the story. It puts it on the audience to take the themes of loss, grief, and generational trauma and weave a tapestry to keep them invested.
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Both Nathan (Nathan Wallace) and Mirra (Jenna Rose Sander) never really grab us as characters. Mirra immediately starts hanging out with the obvious witches the second she gets to the house. There is no mystery here, and they don’t do a whole lot to pull her into the world. As she catches up to the audience in discovering her new friends are the threat, she just kind of rolls into it like a Starbucks during PSL season. We watch her and her two new friends hang out as they begin to slowly introduce her to their world. What should be our introducion into a coven feels more like farm girls hanging out. Then she’s abruptly standing with them instead of her brother for reasons that aren’t clear.
Even Nathan’s spiral back into addiction feels more like an afterthought than an actual plot point. Nathan is tasked as the sibling trying to figure out what’s going on. However, because the story is so simple his revalations fall flat. Nathan’s weird dreams are moments that made me lean forward. However, like most of the film, they feel disjointed and are ultimately unnecessary. Another odd thing with Nathan’s story is that his childhood friend seems to be the only source of information about what was going on with his dead dad. He and his friend have a fun exchange towards the top of the film, but then their scenes feel like ways of showing Nathan was an addict and reminding us about their dead father and the mystery surrounding the dead father that we lost track of.
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The Ones You Didn’t Burn seventy-minute run-time is one of the films saving graces. It doesn’t leave itself enough time to stray too far from what it’s attempting to do. This is especially good because we don’t see our witches in action until the end of the film. Even then, it’s not the event we were hoping for, but it was nice to finally get to what the title promised.
Have you watched The Ones You Didn’t Burn? Let me know what you think at @misssharai.
You can almost see the movie it wanted to be through the trees. However, the movie it is leaves a lot to be desired and is a chore to watch.