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.
Samantha Robinson, Elle Evans, Jeffrey Vincent Parise
This is not a traditional horror film that you are going to turn off all the lights for grab some popcorn and get ready for some jump scares or fun unrelenting carnage, like the Descent or Cabin in the Woods or something. This is an experiment in 60's era film making, which is done remarkably well. Casual viewers are going to find it weird, poorly acted, nonsensical, sexist, weird, not scary, confusing and did I mention weird? Cinemaphiles should appreciate it's unyielding dedication to its concept, from the weird plot, to the bad 60's acting (intentionally done in this case), the nonsensical plot (by modern standards), and the weirdness...all done in a fashion that served the overall concept. Even the instances that clearly had to involve some modern technology not available at the time blended seamlessly. And in spite of the protagonists somewhat archaic, patriarchally submissive, sexist motivations the film clearly had a strong feminist subtext. Samantha Robinson is fantastic and perfectly captures the essence of the films nature. I felt so weird once this film had ended but I could hardly say as a film enthusiast I did not enjoy it. If you are looking for a good scare in a horror film or something fun and carnage filled there are probably better choices, but I certainly feel as if I gained something by watching this movie. It was a good movie.
Anna Biller is a beautiful genius. This film could only have been created with her exquisite eye for detail and the discipline to create magic in every shot. This is not a homage to classic giallo/horror/grindhouse - this is the perfection of those genres and that craft. This is an artist to be admired and respected.
"The Love Witch" (2016 release; 120 min.) brings the story of Elaine, the self-proclaimed "love witch". As the movie opens, we see Elaine, in a bright red dress, driving her bright red Mustang convertible, on her way to a friend's apartment (turns out Elaine's luggage is also bright red). It's not long before we realize that after Elaine's husband Jerry left her "I died but then I was reborn as a witch", and now Elaine uses love potions in her quest to attract Mr. Charming. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for us the viewers), these love potions are at times too strong. At this point we are not even 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first and foremost, this movie is nothing short of a labor of love from Anna Biller, who previously brought us "Viva". Let me count the ways: Biller writes, produces, directs, designs the costumes and set, and composes the original score for this. So yes, this is an "Anna Biller Production" from A to Z. Here Biller uses witchcraft and femininity to bring a visually rich, even at times over-stimulating, story about "women empowerment". Even though the movie is set in today, the movie's tone, style and overall vibe is deeply rooted in the 60s. The photography's color palette is deeply striking as well, where bright colors are jumping at you. I must admit that during the first 20-15 min., it all seemed like a giant pastiche or send-up of 1960s movies (not unlike the Austin Powers movies), but once you get beyond the initial surprise, the movie actually settles and is far deeper than just a joke or a send-up (even if you'll find that plentiful in the movie of course). Special kudos to Ms, Biller for the exquisite set designs, in particular keeping in mind this movie was made for a nickel and a dime (certainly by Hollywood standards). My comments would be incomplete without mentioning the outstanding performance by Samantha Robinson (whom I was not familiar with before this) in the title role. Beware: there is quite a bit of nudity in the film, so if that bothers you, you may wish to stay away from this movie. Bottom line: I can honestly tell you that this movie is one of the more unique films I've seen this year, but "The Love Witch" delivers, and then some.
I had seen the trailer for this, and "The Love Witch" in early December had a two week run at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so (about 10 people altogether), but those who were there clearly enjoyed it quite a bit, with frequent laughing and hollering (especially from the women in the audience!). If you are in the mood for a truly unique film that is "way out there", if not beyond that, I might suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "The Love Witch" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
To me what makes a bad movie great is when the it's not obvious that the director and actors were trying to be bad...
The lets show her painting but no paint is going on the canvas was fine the first time. Or the obvious green screen driving scenes ... It will be just like the bad movies from the 70's. Beating the dead horse wasn't necessary... this film just tries too hard. I'm giving it a second star only because some people will consider it paying homage to those earlier films, I don't but I recognize the attempt.
True to the title, the main character is a love witch causing trouble—and death—in a farcical 60s-esque milieu. She then falls in love with the very detective who is investigating one of her crimes. By the end of the film, the detective--like a skeptical viewer of this film--has grown tired of the silly immoral games and wants solid justice. Who will win--harsh literalism or nostalgic insane fantasy? Watch and find out!