If you’ve ever wanted to get revenge on an ex, this is the film for you.
OK, so I say that with tongue in cheek, a little bit. This is the story of a woman who just wants to find love, but her magic spells all go awry. Sound a little bit like Bewitched or Bell, Book and Candle? Well, it’s kind of like those, but when Elaine (Robinson) casts a love spell, people tend to die.
The best part about this film is that I can’t decide whether it’s incredible or awful, just that I really got a kick out of watching it. The attention to detail, the sets, costumes, the way it’s shot, this film could be from the 60’s or 70’s. It’s veins bleed retro. It often feels stylised, like the scenes in a women’s tea room, where everyone wears pink, or the opening sequences where Elaine tells us about her thoughts and feelings in voice over, her innocuous voice punctuating the images of her polished nails, driving her convertible along winding roads with her matching luggage in the back seat. And this stylising also extends to the performance style, which seems to be deliberately a bit over the top, much like 60’s B movies. So it’s a good bad film? Maybe.
Elaine herself is really fascinating to watch. She has been described as some kind of evil Stepford Wife, and that’s partly true. She tells us that she’s had a destructive, abusive relationship in the past, and that she was mentally ill for a time, but she’s better now, and on her way to a new life and to find true love. But the body count starts to stack up, as her spells reveal unattractive weaknesses in her lovers, which turn her off, before it kills them. She’s not really a good person, but she has this 60’s, soft, trance like quality, a fragile desperation and she’s quite stunning (who knew blue eye shadow could look that good?), so you playfully want to see what she’ll get up to next. And what she’ll be wearing when she does.
Whether you love or hate the style of the film as a whole, it’s an incredible piece of work, and a real credit to Anna Biller, whose attention to detail, writing and directing style make for something incredibly unique, and often darkly humorous. It’s a beautiful homage to all those cute and fun old 60’s films about witches, but it takes them to a different conclusion. Rather than women giving up their power as they usually did in those old witchy romantic comedies, here it’s all about claiming it.
The Love Witch is out 10th March