I have just watched what has to be the most unusual, quirky, subversive – and so beautifully presented – witchcraft movie I have ever seen in my whole life. The movie is called The Love Witch, and here is my review of this little masterpiece of contemporary hubble bubble, toil and trouble.
The basic storyline of The Love Witch revolves around a young, beautiful, urban witch called Elaine (Samantha Robinson), who will stop at nothing to find the man of her dreams. In her Gothic, Victorian mansion, she indulges in all manner of conventional witchcraft pursuits, from concocting all kinds of weird potions and spells, to painting rather lewd pictures of arcane witchcraft rituals.
As she sets about her task of seducing different men in the most dark, idiosyncratic ways imaginable, Elaine’s spells begin to work much too strongly, leaving her with a horrid body count of victims. When Elaine finally does meet her dream hunk, her desperation to be loved has grown so intense that she is driven to the very edge of lunacy and murder. She even disarms the Chief of Police himself with her seductive beauty and irresistible charm, leading him, in his starry-eyed state, to cast aside all investigations into the murders (he even turns on his assistant in the most aggressive and unexpected way imaginable too!) to embark on a wild, passionate affair with her that ends in . . . well, I am not going to give too much away of the plot here. You’ll have to watch the movie yourself to find out what happens.
Samantha Robinson is very impressive and memorable in the role of Elaine. She is a gorgeous looking woman, but at the same time there is a sinister undercurrent running beneath her superficial attractiveness. She can also be very openly cold and ruthless, and these traits are particularly born out in the scene where she is chatting to her neighbour, Trish, in a cafe about Trish’s grief after the shocking suicide of her husband (who, as yet unbeknownst to Trish, had been having a secret affair with Elaine whilst Trish was away). Get over it. Move on. These are the messages that are clearly being conveyed here by Elaine to her poor, sorrowful neighbour.
As I said before, The Love Witch is not only a very quirky and thought-provoking movie, but it’s also such a beautifully presented one. The use of colour in both setting and costumes is superbly rich and vibrant, making you think that you are watching a film from the late 60s/early 70s instead of a modern-day witchcraft production (God, why can’t ALL movies be as colourful as this now?). But then again, such aesthetic and nostalgic presentation was apparently one of the main goals of the producers, along with an obvious nod to both Elizabeth Montgomery from the Bewitched TV series and The Wicker Man (witness the weird medieval marriage scene attended by people dressed in the sort of gear you would associate with acolytes of Lord Summerisle, who was the main villain of The Wicker Man, of course).
Admittedly, The Love Witch is quite long at two hours, but at the same time it is not the sort of story you can easily grow weary of after about an hour of watching, as I enjoyed every single minute of it. The Love Witch is a perfect example of a good story that, no matter how long it is, you can go on watching for as long as your interest is held.
So if you love a real good witchcraft movie that brings something a little different to the genre, and you a big fan of the glorious technicolour exploitation thrillers of the late 60s/early 70s, then I suggest you treat yourself to a copy of The Love Witch. It is the sort of movie you can watch again and again, if only for the gorgeously shot scenes.
You can buy The Love Witch by clicking on the image link above this review.