Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Domino Day: Lone Witch, on Sundance Now

This witchcraft series might depress the business of hook-up apps. Blame Domino Day. She considers herself a witch, but the way she sucks the life force out of men is very much like a vampire. Technically, she is a lamia, even though she never shape-shifts nor slithers on a serpentine tail. She does not know her true nature, but she intuitively understands it would freak out other witches in creator-writer Lauren Sequeira’s six-episode Domino Day: Lone Witch, which premieres tomorrow on Sundance Now.

Day is trying to lay low in Manchester. She works part-time as a barista, but she lives by sucking the life-force out of horny jerks she meets through apps. She never takes enough to kill them, but she always lives them seriously depleted and with their memories wiped. Unfortunately, she did not find her latest victim’s recording device. He will be a problem.

Her ex, Silas was a problem too, but she banished him to an alternate dimension very much like “the Further” in the
Insidious movies. Much to her surprise, Silas returns, but he insists he harbors no ill-will. Silas still hopes to harness her power to restore his own magic. Silas’s spell-casting abilities were [justifiably] hobbled by his mother Esme, the governing elder witch for Manchester. Clearly, Day needs help from the local coven that discovered her presence, but she only trusts Sammie, a practitioner of aura magic. In fact, she will have good reason to be angry with Kat, the coven leader, who secretly consorts with forbidden ancestor spirits.

The series has plenty of sexual undercurrents, but Sequeira wisely keeps more bubbling under the surface rather than in viewers faces. Frankly, sex usually leads to very bad things, so it almost offers a weird argument for abstinence. (Of course, there is a long history of vampirism serving as a metaphor for sexually transmitted diseases, so the same can be true for lamias.)

Sienna Kelly has convincing meltdowns as Day, but she also has nice chemistry with Percelle Ascott playing Leon, a nice guy whose life-force she is desperately trying not to exsanguinate. Sam Howard Sneyd is also pretty creepy as Silas and Lucy Cohu is grandly villainous as his evil mother, Esme. However, Alisha Bailey easily stands out amongst the otherwise bland and cliched coven, as the conflicted and somewhat untrustworthy Kat.

Apparently, Sundance Now has zeroed in on witches as one of its niches.
Domino Day has a more big-city vibe than the tony and elitist A Discovery of Witches or the indictment of provincial prejudice in Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale. Sequeira and company do not just copy other systems of magic and the directors (Eva Sigurdardottir and Nadira Amrani, helming three episodes a piece) keep it moving along at a healthy clip. Recommended for fans of witch-themed contemporary dark fantasies, Domino Day: Lone Witch starts streaming tomorrow (6/27) on Sundance Now.