When this movie begins, William is no longer working for the public defender’s office. Instead, he now handles insurance law. He comments that it’s been years since he last used his powers and he’s happy that he is, once again, living a normal life. However, when Lily Wild (Lisa Jay Harrington) shows up at his office and tells him that her 17 year-old brother, Pete Wild (Orien Richmond), has been arrested for a murder that he didn’t commit, William agrees to serve as Pete’s attorney.
The police are convinced that Pete not only murdered his girlfriend but that he’s also a serial killer who has been responsible for killing at least six other women and removing their hearts. With the police refusing to be of much help and also apparently withholding evidence so that it doesn’t inspire a copycat killer (?), William decides that the only way to defend Pete is to solve the murder on his own.
Searching the scene of the crime, William finds a matchbook with the word “Coven” on it. Coven is a club and William’s investigation leads him to both a stripper named Belladonna (Julie Strain) and Santara (Clive Pearson), the club owner who makes aspiring rockers famous in return for their immortal soul. Santara has not only a very famous father but also a connection to William. No matter how much William tries to escape his past, he keeps getting pulled back in.
Witchcraft IV is unique among the franchise in that it features William narrating his story. William obviously learned how to narrate by watching old film noirs but it’s appropriate because Witchcraft IV is more of a direct-to-video neonoir than a horror film. The horror and supernatural elements are there, of course. But Witchcraft IV is more interested in the mystery aspect of the story than the horror aspect. Unfortunately, the mystery itself isn’t particularly challenging and it seems as if William, given his past, should have been able to figure things out quicker than he did.
The best thing that Witchcraft IV has going for it is Julie Strain in the role of Belladonna. Strain gives a typically uninhibited and forceful performance, one that suggests that, if she had been born many years earlier, she could have had a good career as a noir femme fatale.
Witchcraft IV was directed by James Merendino, who later achieved cult success with SLC Punk! This would also be the last time that Charles Solomon would play the role of William Spanner. In Part V, the role would be played by Marklen Kennedy.