May 8, 2017 The Love Witch (Movie Review)
Behind the false eye lashes, heavy eye make up, and bewitching personality of beautiful Elaine, lays a woman determined to find true love despite the cost or body count. This image painted, the latest Horror/Thriller, The Love Witch, tells the story of Elaine (Samantha Robinson: Sugar Daddies 2014, Labyrinths 2015), a modern day witch who lives a ’70s style life. Written and directed by Anna Biller (A Visit from an Incubus 2001, Viva 2007) and released via Oscilloscope Laboratories back in 2016, The Love Witch recently became available on Blu-ray/DVD as of March 14, 2017.
Visually beautiful, Cinematographer M. David Mullen (Jennifer’s Body 2009, Stay Cool 2011), a period piece expert, shot on 35mm film and printed from the original negative. This gives The Love Witch an otherworldly feel, and blends elements of modern day filming aspects and time frame with a cross between late 1960s’ into 1970s’ styling. The result, an almost alternate reality which, while brushing against our’s, acts completely independent to itself.
After the death of her inadequate husband Jerry, (Stephen Wozniak: NCIS: Los Angeles TV series, Ransom’s Law 2017) – Elaine moves to Arcata, California to begin again and find true love. With a combination of her beauty and witchcraft, Elaine sets her new future plan into action. She takes a room in an equally beautiful Victorian house owned by her witchy, Pagan mentor Barbara (Jennifer Ingrum: Numb3rs TV, The Capture 2017).
Elaine becomes instant friends with Interior Decorator Trish Manning (Laura Waddell: Saving Mr. Banks 2013, Rise of the Tomb Raider 2015), who likes Elaine but does not share her antiquated views on men. Trish has been happily married to Richard (Robert Seeley: Knock Her Socks Off 2009, Carrie Ca$h 2017) for a decade and is happy being equal partners with him. This changes when Elaine and Trish are out together. Richard lays eyes on Elaine and is instantly enamoured.
Not content with Richard as yet, Elaine does spells to bring a new man into her life. She immediately meets Wayne (Jeffrey Vincent Parise: CSI: NY TV series, General Hospital 2013), a teacher in a local park. After a brief sexual tryst, which fulfils all of Wayne’s desires, he becomes clingy and needy – the exact opposite of the man Elaine wants. Elaine is saved the trouble of telling him she does not want to see him again as Wayne is found dead the next day.
After the Wayne encounter and Trish goes away, Elaine decides Richard could be the one. However, Richard becomes obsessed with Elaine, and she breaks it off. In the meantime, Wayne has been reported missing and subsequently found dead. Detective Griff (Gian Keys: Murder Among Friends 2016, Fuckin’ Actors 2016) investigates the death, which leads him to Elaine. Believing he is the one, Elaine conducts more spells and, despite all the evidence pointing to her, Griff becomes infatuated.
The two begin an intense love affair celebrated with Elaine’s coven and fellow Pagans – Gahan (Jared Sanford: Viva 2007, Soiled Doves 2015) and Star (Elle Evans: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse 2015, Expendable Assets 2016). Griff absorbs Elaine’s unusual existence and soon loses not only sight of his objective but possibly his life at the hands of his lover. To further complicate things for Elaine, upon her return, Trish discovers Richard’s affair, giving Elaine a new adversary while Griff seems to shake off the heavy spell around him blurring his vision. Elaine finds that moving has not removed her man problems, but by sheer determination, she will make any situation work.
Robinson is amazing as Elaine who does not appear to be conscious of her deadly actions and is faultless, bewitching and beguiling. As a consequence, she has been nominated for the 2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. The Love Witch’s light fluffy exterior hides a bleeding visceral core, with Biller delivering a heavy message of female empowerment and cutting ties with former anti-feminist ideals that lingers long after the credits.
The excellence extends through every area of production, including costume design and special effects – designed by Biller. This is a big reason why The Love Witch became the only new feature film to be shown at the international film festival Rotterdam in 2016 and Biller has received accolades from a number of critics including The New York Times. Alongside the dreamy scenes are gore and nudity, giving the film another edge. Biller has certainly outdone herself with The Love Witch and her future projects are worth keeping an eye out for. A must watch for all Horror, ’70s Horror lovers, and true cinema fans, CrypticRock gives The Love Witch 5 out of 5 stars.