BeeReviews: The Love Witch 2016
The Love Witch 2016
Tagline: She Loved Men…To Death.
Director: Anna Biller
Writer: Anna Biller
Genre: Comedy, horror
Run time: 120 mins
Released: November 11th 2016 (USA)
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Robert Seeley,
Jennifer Ingrum, Stephen Wozniak and guest starring April Showers as herself.
Trivia: Much of the costumes and set decorations were designed and handmade by the Director herself
The Love Witch was nominated for best motion picture at the Catalonian International Film Festival
I had been excited for this movie since I read an article about it last year. I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it but it definitely spiked my interest and I was eager to watch. The article described a feminist film with a nod to the 1960’s and the accompanying images were so lush and colourful it automatically went on my list of films to watch.
The first thing I want to say about The Love Witch is just how colourful it is, everything from costumes, make up and sets are so bright and vibrant they almost burst out of the screen. Speaking of costumes and make up they are literally perfect, as a fan of vintage and retro fashion and music I can really appreciate this level of homage.
The main character Elaine (Samantha Robinson) has an array of stunning and eye-catching clothes and her makeup is just as vivid. She reminded me of a mix of Morticia Addams from the 1964 television series and Cher circa 1977. She appears to be both vulnerable and dangerous and there is a slight sense of naivety to her.
The acting comes across as very over the top at times but in a more deliberate way and doesn’t seemed force. It’s as if they are trying to act a little badly to portray an authentic salute to the B movies of the era that is at the heart of The Love Witch. I cannot tell when this movie is actually set, it is quite ambiguous. The costumes and sets are very 1960’s and 1970’s yet there are modern cars and mobile phones, this made the whole thing more charming to me.
I loved the way The Love Witch was filmed, there are definite influences from B movies and classic films of the past with Directors Anna Biller’s unique signature intwined. The use of extreme and comical close-ups made me laugh out loud. There are also scenes that are very dream like and magical. It was like looking through a kaleidoscope, these were really lovely to watch and again have such a vintage feel.
The music in this movie was a little creepy at times, which is something I love about horrors. It was also very retro and ethereal. It did however sound a bit tiny (unlike the dialogue and other sounds) which makes me think this was deliberate to really reinforce the feeling of an older film.
The whole film is erotic in nature without really being vulgar, the nudity is more artistic than sexual and the way in which sex is talked about is natural and beautiful. There are some perfect innuendo lines thrown in for that Carry On vibe which made me very happy. Something else that reminded me of movies similar to Carry On was the slapstick style choreography especially within the scenes that involve physical contact like punching or slapping, seriously these were some of the funniest scenes. The Best punch looked so fake and almost made me spit my drink out with laughter.
The 3 main male characters were so funny and each of them had super expressive faces in different ways. Wayne (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) has to be the smiliest man on the planet, he smiles with his whole body and some of the expressions he pulls are pure gold. Richard (Robert Seeley) is the other end of that particular spectrum and I don’t watch to give too much away but his crying scene was almost too crigney to watch (it’s featured in the collage I made). Griff (Gian Keys) was different his expressions looked more pensive but with a sense of arrogance, lovely smile though he just came across very Ken Doll at times. Last but not least Jerry (Stephen Wozniak) his scenes were flashbacks and it killed me for ages because he really reminded me of someone and I couldn’t get that out of my head and then finally I realised and only just a little, he reminded me of the great Bob Ross.
The Love Witch is a supremely stylised modern day study of sexploitation movies, feminism and the occult. There is a strong female presence in Elaine (Samantha Robinson) who takes a stand and looks for love on her own terms. This movie really is a wonderful celebration of 1960’s pulp novels and technicolor movies of that era. Every detail in every scene is so perfectly retro and often so perfectly over the top. My only gripe is that any blood looked a little too real and I think a film like this would have benefited from the comical paint like, bright red blood we have all come to know and love from the past. I would definitely recommend this one!