The Love Witch

03/26/2019 14:09

Film: The Love Witch

Year: 2016

Director: Anna Biller

Writer: Anna Biller

Starring: Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise and Laura Waddell



This was a film I heard about on some podcasts when I first started listening to them. I was really confused from the title as it doesn’t sound like it would be a horror film. Technically I would say that this isn’t a horror film, but it does deal with as the title states, witches. It also has murder and magic as well. The official synopsis is a modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her.

We kick this off with a woman driving along a coastal road. She is Elaine (Samantha Robinson). There is a voice-over narration informing us that she was in love with a man named Jerry (Stephen Wozniak), but he broke her heart. The way she tells it, he died of natural causes, but it looks more like murder from the images that are flashed throughout the film. She is then pulled over by Griff (Gian Keys). She is quite nervous around police, which we learn is because of her being a suspect previously. He gives her a warning and sends her on her way.

In town she meets with Trish (Laura Waddell). She is the interior decorator for an apartment of her friend. She is going to stay there while she is in town. The two of them go out for lunch and tea. It is here we learn more about Elaine. She is a witch and she really wants to find love. She actually has a skewed view of life and thinks that a woman’s only job is a please a man. This bothers Trish, who is more of a modern woman, where the two of them are equals. It is here that we meet Trish’s husband, Richard (Robert Seeley).

Elaine meets Wayne (Jeffrey Vincent Parise), who is a local professor. She falls for him and he is intrigued by her. They decide to go to his cottage in the woods. It is there that he comes on to her and she makes him slow down. She does give him a love potion and they finally go to his bedroom. He gets quite emotional though and ends up dying of a broken heart.

This saddens Elaine as she continues to look for the love of her life and no man is safe from her and her spells. We also meet more from the coven as well, which some of the townspeople don’t really like living in their city.

Now when I heard this was coming to my theater because of a podcast that is based here, I was quite intrigued. I saw the trailer a few times and decided I was going to be in attendance. I should point out as well that I watched it on a 35mm print. What really struck me was the film has a surreal vibe. I think a lot of that comes from the fact this film is set in modern times, but the way the characters are dressed makes it feel like 1970’s. It also really felt like it could be a Hammer horror film with the sets and the vivid colors as well. It was really trippy, but I dug it.

This film is really a feminist film as well. Elaine is really trying to set women back. She is so concerned with finding a husband and she thinks that women should cater to all of their needs. As a male, I wouldn’t like this to be honest. Trish actually has it right though in that it should be a partnership. This does create problems though as Elaine gives men the fantasies they want. She really wants a strong man, but her potions and how she treats them breaks them.

With the magic used, there is this weird aspect of the coven. Gahan (Jared Sandford) is the leader along with his wife Barbara (Jennifer Ingrum). The odd thing though Gahan really reminds me of the Church of Satan founder, Anton Lavey. I’m betting this film being a parody is doing this intentionally. The thing this coven is teaching women though is really good. It is them knowing their self-worth and using what they were given to get what they want.

Something I’m really surprised by with this film is that despite the 2 hour running time, it really didn’t feel like it. The film moves along at a good pace and it is interesting seeing Elaine move through these men as she is looking for the love of her life. She is quite selfish and despicable, but I still found myself rooting for her. I will say that the ending is a bit abrupt, but it wasn’t where I thought they were going. I would have preferred something else to happen, but what we got I thought was good. It really sums up the film pretty well actually and is probably better than what I thought, as that would make her martyr.

The acting for this film is interesting. Robinson killed this role. I found her to be absolutely beautiful and a lot of that is her make-up is always on point. She has a great smile and I loved to listen to her talk. Now her character is completely crazy and horrible as well, but I thought she brought the role to life. Her body was great to boot. There is a hint of something more there, which includes low self-esteem. All of the men I’ll lump together as being solid. They are distinct, but meet similar demises. I thought Waddell was really good as the sane, counter balance that I end up feeling bad for. I also thought Sanford, Ingrum and the rest of the cast round out the film for what was needed as well.

Now there’s not a lot in the way of effects, but I do have to commend the film for the visual effects we get. There’s a moment where Wayne is on drugs and there’s odd light around Elaine. I thought it was good to put us in the feeling and seeing what he is. The sets in the film are great. There was some blood which looked good, but that was about it. If you couldn’t tell, I thought the film looked beautiful as well.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack, which is again amazing. There were such differing songs, but they fit and enhance the scenes. Some of these do not feature dialogue or we will go stretches without it. The music then takes over to set the mood of the scene. I also like the voice-over narration in the few places we get it to fill in things that we otherwise wouldn’t know.

With that said, this film wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, but I liked it. The film has an odd 1970’s feel and aesthetic like a Hammer film while being set in modern times. That helps to give it a surreal feel. There is a lot of deeper meaning in the film, which I really enjoyed. Mixing in the witchcraft and what not was also a good touch. The acting I thought was good, especially from Robinson. The visual effects look good as do the little practical effects we got. The film was shot beautifully and music fit exactly what they needed. This film isn’t for everyone, but I definitely dug it. I think overall this is a good one to check out in my opinion.


My Rating: 8 out of 10