Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Love Witch - Movie Review

The Movie: The Love Witch (Official Selection of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival)

The Director: Anna Biller

The Cast: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Wadell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum. Randy Evans, and Lily Holleman

The Story: Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, leaving her with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder. - Official Website

The Review:
I wish I had been able to watch this late addition to the 2016 SIFF lineup during the festival, but it just didn't fit into my schedule at the time. Anna Biller has created a few throwback style genre films in the past although this would have to be considered somewhat of a breakout effort that nails the retro sexploitation concept perfectly. Her use of color and camp is a spot on recreation of movies from the 60's and 70's and borders on parody while still honoring what made that era so special. The world she has created inside this story has the look and feel of the old Batman TV series just without the Pow's and Bam's splashing across the screen. My one gripe about the film is that it just feels real long and I would have liked to see an edit with about 20 minutes taken out.

The love witch herself is played perfectly by relative newcomer Samantha Robinson who just fills the screen with heaping helpings of sex appeal akin to Julie Newmar's turn as Catwoman in the aforementioned Batman series. She is devilishly good in this role in a way that shows she's not as much evil as she is naive about the path of destruction she is causing and this just adds to the fun of how she just works her way through every man that crosses her path. Everyone else in the cast fits the style of the film nicely although I couldn't quite tell if they were intentionally cast for having a lack of acting talent or if they are so good, they were able to recreate the cheesiness and bad acting we grew up watching on VHS tapes and late night cable TV.

The Verdict:
The Love Witch is a fun movie that is hard not to enjoy. If you are looking to revisit some old school, B-movie thrills or if you just want to check out a beautifully filmed romp through the world of witchcraft and love potions, then this is the movie for you.

For my Seattle area readers, a 35mm print of The Love Witch will be screening at the Grand Illusion Cinema on February 14th and 17th.

Check out all of my reviews and coverage for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival!

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