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5 Netflix Releases That Prove 2018 Was a Good Year For the Occult

It was a good year for witchy women.
witchy characters
Illustration by Adam Noor

This year, we've seen a growing number of people ditching organized religion for witchcraft and astrology. It's partly because practicing witchcraft is increasingly seen as a form of rebellion against the patriarchy, both in fiction and in real life. Remember when, just weeks before the eve of Samhain (what the rest of us call "Halloween"), modern-day witches promised to take down Brett Kavanaugh, the Associate Judge of the US Supreme Court against whom dozens of women made sexual misconduct allegations? And seeing the comeback of witches and the occult in both big and small screen this year, it's only right to officially call 2018 "The Year of the Witch."


We predict that the trend will continue well into 2019, so here are five films and TV shows you can binge watch this holiday season to prepare yourself for all the magic and spells that are to come:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The series follows the struggles of the teenage half-witch Sabrina Spellman, who is trying to embrace both her identities while refusing to sign over her soul to Satan in exchange for power. A far cry from the cutesy, G-rated original that came out in the 90s, Sabrina is very aligned with the current political climate. Lead actress Kiernan Shipka herself has described the new Sabrina as a "woke witch" who challenges the patriarchal elements in her coven and reaffirms her own identity as an independent witch, ungoverned by covens.


Set in the early 1900s, this period horror directed by Gareth Evans (of The Raid fame) tells the story of a man on the mission to save his sister from a cult. Like Evans’ previous works, Apostle is in no short supply of shock and violence. Starring Michael Sheen as the cult’s senseless leader, this chilling tale works in references to the Salem Witch Trials, yet another classic example of how evil, in most cases, is in the hands of men.

Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (May The Devil Take You)

Dysfunctional families often make a good premise for horror movies (hello, Hereditary). However, this isn’t always the case. Likened by many to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead, Sebelum Iblis Menjemput follows an Indonesian family who discovers that making deals with the devil is only a good idea if you want to put an end to unwanted family reunions.


I Am Not A Witch

Unlike the first three movies on this list, I Am Not A Witch won't scare you shitless. Set in Zambia, the film satirizes the country’s real life camps for women who allegedly possess supernatural powers. The tragicomedy follows a silent young girl who, after a bizarre misunderstanding, was accused of witchcraft and is now forced to work as a "civil witch" for the state. The film is equal parts hilarious, frustrating, and heartwarming.

Siempre Bruja (Always A Witch)

OK so this one won't actually be released until next year, but it goes to show that we're only going to see even more witch stories on TV next year. Siempre Bruja is an adaptation of the 2015 novel Yo, bruja that follows an Afro-Colombian teenage witch who time travels from the 17th century to the present day to avoid persecution. The series premieres sometime in February, so that gives us enough time to find—and finish—a copy of the novel beforehand to make sure we're getting the full experience.