Written, produced and directed by Anna Biller, The Love Witch is aptly titled. It follows a witch…looking for love… And that’s about as in-depth as it gets, aside from Biller’s attempt to make a kitschy noir that feels like it’s from a different era. The entire film tries so hard to be novel and strange that it becomes forced and uninteresting. It will likely only entertain the most avid of cinephiles, and was clearly produced to entertain whackos that get their kicks watching terrible movies just for the cheese factor. (GEP: 2/5)
Review by Social Media Manager Georgiana E. Presecky
Certain films are meant for certain audiences, and I was the wrong audience for The Love Witch. While Biller’s attempt to pay homage to a certain kind of low-budget 1960s film is admirable, a lot of its subtleties were completely lost on me and would probably go over most viewers’ heads.
From the script to the aesthetic to the acting, the whole thing is just too downright weird for the average moviegoer. From the detailed witchcraft to the bizarre sexual scenes, “odd” is the only way to describe Biller’s long, tiring feature.
“Elaine” (Samantha Robinson) is a freaking nutcase who gets “reborn as a witch” after poisoning her ex-husband. She escapes to a country house to start her new life, now that she “understands men” a lot better, which she’ll tell anyone who will listen. The next 120 minutes include her luring men in with her witchy powers and using them to “get what she wants.” Barf. Long story short, they die from sleeping with her and it’s all very creepy and gross if you’re into that sort of thing. It twists its way into a convoluted murder mystery and semi-“romantic” love story, peppered with trippy witchcraft sequences. Yawn. Elaine’s incessant voiceover is supposed to provide humor and clarity, but it isn’t really funny unless you’re familiar with kitschy old flicks.
Beller was praised by the Los Angeles Times for The Love Witch and its feminist message, but it’s frequently too on-the-nose. Lines like “the whole world doesn’t revolve around a man’s needs” could have been shown by the plot instead of simply being told. Some of the feminist humor has the potential to make modern women laugh, but it all gets lost in the freakish allegory. The amount of gratuitous sex alone made The Love Witch feel like its production involved no women at all, let alone being directed, produced and written by one.
There’s a lot about The Love Witch that is not meant to be taken seriously or literally – you understand that the tone is supposed to be peculiar, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. If you think putting a used tampon in a jar and burying it with a dead lover is amusing, then call this a “horror comedy.” Me? I’ll stick to Scream.
© Georgiana E. Presecky FF2 Media (11/12/16)
Top photo: Strange witch Elaine doing strange witchy things.
Middle photo: The first of Elaine’s victims.
Bottom photo: One of many times The Love Witch attempts to be psychedelic.
Photo credits: Anna Biller Productions
Yes. Elaine forms a bond with her neighbor, Trish, who eventually discovers her freaky secrets.