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4/10
That eyeshadow is always on point.
dfranzen7023 April 2019
I fully appreciate the *look* of this movie, for starters. It's got the sheen of a late-60s/early-70s thriller mashed with an Italian giallo, minus all the blood and gore. It's very fab. And the performances, particularly by lead Samantha Robinson, are fantastic. Even the makeup deserves quite a bit of praise, it's so on point. Everything seems to be in place and just so, except for the plot. The surreal air that envelops the proceedings masks a fairly pedestrian plot, that of a witch who cast spells in order to find her true love, with the help of her cult, er, fellow witches, some of whom are routinely naked. Like I said, the movie has all the feel of a period piece, but there just isn't much there, and after a while the viewer may become as bored as I did. Which is unfortunate, given the level of effort and talent.
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Cult Film - but for the wrong reasons?
gortx10 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The biggest cult film in L.A. right now with sell-out shows and great word of mouth. Interestingly, many of the folks who like it most have misinterpreted its influences and what it is trying to do (more later). Caught it in 35mm at the American Cinematheque. It was shot on film and it has been lovingly created with a rich color palette for maximum visual impact. And, it's titular heroine is played by the extremely photogenic Samantha Robinson.

Director Anna Biller's attention to detail is such that she not only wrote, produced and directed it - but, also hand-made many of the items on screen. All of that would make for a fanatically detailed 20 minute short. Unfortunately, THE LOVE WITCH runs a full 120 minutes. The movie uses the horror genre to tell a modern feminist update on the old-fashioned 'Woman's picture'. It's so hyper-stylized that it has led to much confusion on the part of many of its most ardent admirers. Director Biller did a Q&A afterwards and she adamantly and defiantly rejected the notion that she was inspired by the 60s and 70s exploitation pictures by folks like Radley Metzger, Joe Sarno, Russ Meyer etc. (although she did admit a certain fondness for Kenneth Anger; a friend of the family she noted) - exactly the filmmakers many of the films' admirers THINK that Biller is paying tribute to! Indeed, many of the viewers of the movie think it's a hip spoof of those pictures (I call these the 'titterers' who laugh knowingly at all the nods and tweaks of those old exploitation pictures).

Now, to be fair, Biller sends mixed messages. She claims LOVE WITCH is really a post-modernist update of Film Noir and Douglas Sirk's style glossy melodramas. Yet, her soundtrack is full of 60s Ennio Morricone type giallo and psychedelic lounge music - not the more old school Herrmann,Alfred Newman 40s and 50s style of scoring. And, all the nudity and explicit sexuality is much more 60s/70s exploitation than 50s MGM technicolor weepie. It's an odd combo. All of that is fine, if the film worked. Unfortunately, it becomes tedious long before the 120 minute end mark. Exacting attention to detail, a few clever feminist touches and some nice upending of clichés only go so far. And, the acting is so affected that you can't help but think it's parody (again, Biller says that was not her intent). The biggest drawback is Samantha Robinson in the lead. She is trying for a very tricky stylized throwback tone, but, she simply isn't a good enough actress to pull it off. She just comes off as stiff and stilted (you actually have to be a very good actor to pull off being so stylized in your performance). You have to believe that, in the end, Robinson was chosen more for her physical charms than for her acting ability (something Biller indirectly admitted to). It's also odd that such an underground effort still hews to mainstream cinema's tendency to have the 'stars' manage to remain partially clothed while the nameless background artists go full frontal nude (including a very noticeable breast pastie).

I don't want to come off as overly harsh. I appreciated the effort, and the 35mm film photography gives the film a certain patina that no digital counterpart could quite achieve. I just find it both odd, and a bit amusing, that the strongest members of the Love Witch Cult are loving it for the 'wrong' reasons -- according to it's own filmmaker!
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7/10
Drowning in Estrogen
axapvov26 January 2018
It´s been said, "The Love Witch" is technically brilliant. The imitation of older genre films is perfect. It´s not only the visuals, the scenery or the costumes, the sound design is just as good and every single character seems to be taken from another era. Even transitions from scene to scene are excellent. Anna Biller has a complete understanding of the movies she wants to emulate. It´s almost witchcraft.

From a feminist standpoint, it isnt´t subtle. I´m not sure if it should be taken entirely serious. I find it deceitully simple, though, and quite clever but it does at times seem taken from another era as well. The truth is i don´t get it completely. This film, feminist or not, is certainly feminine. The most feminine film I´ve ever seen. It´s a woman´s art, a woman´s idea, a woman´s everything. It´s absolutely drowning in estrogen.

The question is, if "The Love Witch" was actually a late 60s film would it be any good? I have no idea but I´m guessing it´s irrelevant. Revivalism is a crucial element. It uses older esthetics to prove a point now. The comedy works better in a 21st century context. It might be too long and slow, I´d recommend watching it in the morning, not a popular time to watch movies but a lot films work better that way, and this is definitely one of them.
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2/10
Burn the Love Witch!
mysticalfredo12 June 2016
I recently sat down to watch the "Season of the Witch" for the first time. It's an early 1970's film by George Romero that follows the exploits of a bored, neglected suburban housewife as she becomes involved in a world of witchcraft and murder. It was an entertaining slice of its era, and could probably be described as an early-ish feminist horror film. With it fresh in my memory, I was looking forward to seeing 2016's "The Love Witch" - directed by Anna Biller - which seemed like a perfect companion piece.

You could almost copy and paste the synopsis for "Season of the Witch" and substitute it for that of "The Love Witch", but instead of a suburban housewife, our protagonist here - Elaine, played by Samantha Robinson - is single, already a witch, and she wants a man. A perfect man. And she isn't afraid to use all the witchery in the book to get him, but things just seem to keep going wrong, and the men usually end up dead.

On its surface, "The Love Witch" is a throwback to those bright technicolor melodramas of the 60's and 70's with occult themes like those in Romero's film. I'm not familiar with her previous work, but one look at Biller's filmography shows that she's made a habit of paying tribute to exploitation fare of the past, and visually she nails it.

Shot on glorious 35mm, "The Love Witch" makes one hell of a first impression. The colors are vivid and absolutely striking. The costuming and makeup are dead on, invoking flashbacks to the 1970's more successfully than most films that attempt a retro look. The set design is wonderfully garish and when you realize that Biller herself did just about everything - from directing to writing, costumes to makeup, production design to editing - it's hard not to be impressed.

I was totally on board at the beginning of the film. Elaine captures her first male victim in a long-winded but amusing sequence. There's a revealing, groovy sex scene, but the immersion is broken when you realize that the 70's bush is missing. Come on, the pubic hair should have been growing down their legs like gnarled thickets!

And with an inexplicable lack of hair, things start to fall apart. The downward spiral begins.

You begin noticing the strange on screen mix of vintage cars and brand new models. Is this the 70's, or some bizarre modern visual pastiche? Why? Things aren't quite gelling together as they should visually. There are a couple of shots that make use of the style and setting laid out so well in the first 25 minutes, but you can tell the production is quickly running out of steam.

Then... it happens. The movie stops dead in its tracks for a long, drawn out scene of dialogue that does nothing to further the plot. In fact, at this point in the film, there IS no plot. There is no drive. The audience might as well go home. Everything creaks to a halt as we watch and listen to flatly shot, mundanely written yammering that means absolutely nothing to the story as a whole.

I wanted to get my scissors out and trim this film for Biller. Sure, she's a one-woman cinematic army, wearing all the hats in the production - and I get that it takes a lot of effort to do that - but there's a reason why directors and writers aren't usually given the right to edit their work. I know, you wrote and you filmed all this stuff that in your heart is great, but you need to cut it down to make the movie watchable for us plebs.

At two hours long, "The Love Witch" is disastrous.

The script needs to be firing on all cylinders for this to work, but it never is. The proceedings are completely witless and droll. As the film drags the audience through long dialogue scene after loooooong dialogue scene, Elaine becomes insufferable. She really is a wretchedly selfish and unlikable protagonist. Her stilted, sedate line delivery and bemused look are frustrating to the point of disbelief, and the people around her wander through scenes like denizens of a poorly acted dream.

Ostensibly, the film is about the hold that women have over men with their sexuality... but you know what they say? Beauty is truly skin deep and the old adage applies to the film as well. The appeal of the visual style wears out its welcome by the halfway mark and what started out as unique, vivid, colorful and endearing becomes ugly and distasteful. It's like eating too much candy - the first few bites are great, but after indulging too selfishly, you end up with a stomach ache, which is usually followed by projectile vomiting and violent diarrhea.

About 20 minutes from the end, when you feel like the movie MUST be wrapping up soon, you're subjected to another long, tensionless dialogue scene, and it hammers home just how much time you've wasted watching this thing. When the end mercifully comes, it's mind- numbingly (and I hate to use the word) pretentious, but would you expect anything less after all that?

Go and watch Romero's "Season of the Witch" instead. It's not his best work, but it's not... this.

In closing, all I can say is... burn "The Love Witch".
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6/10
A Darn Fine Vision That Runs Much Too Long
gavin694217 July 2016
A modern-day witch (Samantha Robinson) uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a tribute to 1960s pulp novels and Technicolor melodramas.

Making its Canadian premiere at Fantasia on July 16, "The Love Witch" swooped in to Montreal with high recommendations. Hollywood Reporter has lauded it, as have the New Yorker, Rue Morgue, Chris Alexander for ShockTilYouDrop and Jason Coffman for Film Monthly. With everyone who is anyone in the world of film criticism coming out behind it, who could dare disagree?

Writer-director Anna Biller knew exactly what she was doing when she attempted to make this a throwback to the classic sexploitation films. Shot on glorious 35mm, the colors are vivid and absolutely striking, both in the film's overall look, and in the costuming and makeup. The set design even captures what I picture the West Coast in the 1960s must have been, a world of witchcraft where Anton LaVey would have felt at home. (Some critics have grumbled about the blend of 1960s and modern vehicles and cell phones; I can appreciate their desire for purity, but that was never really the point.)

Although the art direction and cinematography are what capture the look, the acting completes that illusion. The acting is terrible, but in the most wonderful way. Presumably, the actors were forced to watch an endless loop of trailers for films from Something Weird Video until they mastered the stilted language and mannerisms. Although Samantha Robinson is obvious the star and carries every sequence, Jeffrey Vincent Parise (GENERAL HOSPITAL) as Wayne was really the high-water mark for over-the-top melodrama. All of the characters had something a little off about them to make them endearing. And I love that the lead detective in the film is named Griff. I'd like to see this as a nod to the films of Sam Fuller, though it's probably just a coincidence.

Not to sound like a carbon copy, but just as much as I agree with the film's praise, I also follow in line with some of the negative observations. Frank Scheck of Hollywood Reporter says the film "might have benefited from some trimming, with several segments depicting wiccan rituals going on a bit too long." Where I differ is that I would go much further on this point, as Biller's editing is the real downfall of the film. Presumably, after all the hard work of writing, directing and decorating, Biller (now wearing the editor hat) didn't have the heart to trim her hard work. And this is a real shame, because after the first quarter to a third of the movie, the pace feels increasingly slow and the film as a whole comes off as awfully long. A half dozen sequences could have been cut entirely, or alternately a solid 20 minutes could have been removed to pick up the pace. A film this brilliant and visually sumptuous should not be risking putting its audience to sleep, but that's precisely what ends up happening.

And that's the long and short of it. Whether this film actually has a feminist message or is a film for women as Biller claims, I couldn't say. But it is unique, and a ridiculously successful throwback to the exploitation films that genre fans (myself included) are passionate about. When the film opens to a wider audience this fall, I expect it will hit home with a wide variety of viewers and may achieve minor cult status. However, if Biller (or someone else) trims a few minutes here and there between now and October, this could go well beyond cult and be a mainstream hit.
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7/10
A bold and seductive retro-styled horror melodrama
Red-Barracuda20 June 2016
The first thing I have to say about The Love Witch is that it is one of the most beautiful looking new films I have seen for quite some time. Shot on 35mm it is sumptuously photographed, with exquisite use of colour and costuming throughout. It's a treat for the eyes, clearly going for the look of a film made in 1971. It achieves this very successfully, except perhaps for the presence of background modern vehicles and a scene with a mobile phone. Director Anna Biller – who also impressively wrote and produced this as well as scored some of it and made a lot of the great outfits – says that the film is supposed to be set in contemporary times but to be honest it never feels this way! This feels like it's circa 1970 all the way and, quite frankly, all the better for it. This extends to the acting styles, lighting and compositions, which all hark back to the styles of this earlier glorious cinematic era. Topping it off, there is some music taken directly from the 1971 films The Fifth Cord and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, both composed by soundtrack genius Ennio Morricone. These bits of avant-garde mood music are full of tension and female sighs and really fit into the feel of the film very well. The fact that the music also comes specifically from Italian giallo films cannot also be a coincidence. These stylish pulp thrillers hit their peak in the early 70's and much of the visual feel of The Love Witch felt like it was at least partially a homage to the delirious colourful approach these movies embraced back in the day.

The story is about an urban witch whose ultimate aim is to get the perfect man. She moves to a new house and immediately starts ensnaring men in her deadly web. Newcomer Samantha Robinson plays the title role and she is very impressive. She certainly looks the part with her great outfits and outstandingly provocative eye make-up. Her performance is lightly erotic and humorous. There are in actual fact several somewhat funny moments sprinkled throughout the movie with all of the actors successfully contributing. Unusually for a film of its type, it has a feminist message interwoven into it. Biller made the quite valid point that if you want men to listen to feminist ideas in a movie then you really have to include them in a film that they are liable to pitch up to in the first place. To this end we have a film featuring, on the one hand, a gorgeous seductive sensual witch, while at the same time, some feminist theory added to the mix – so everyone's a winner basically.

It could probably be argued that at two hours it's a bit overlong. But I loved the ambition and, in particular, the visual beauty of the thing. It's certainly one of the more bold and interesting genre experiments of recent years. Clearly it is going to divide audiences, as it will be too much for some folks to fully get behind but I think if you have a particular love of the early 70's strand of exploitation cinema then this one has a pretty good chance of rocking your boat.
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2/10
Looks good, but plays out poorly,
MadMike7720 February 2018
About 10 minutes into the film I paused it and read a couple of articles on the Internet and read up on the director and her, lets call it "agenda" regarding the film. I carried on watching. Carried on watching for the whole 2 hours. Even though I had enough at about an hour in.

OK, let's talk good points. The film was absolutely stunning to look at, with beautifully rich, vibrant colours and a good looking cast. Yes, it certainly had that homage feel to it. A little bit of 60s, but mainly 70s. It looked and felt like it could've been a lost Hammer film, recently restored to its full glory. Really nice set pieces and costumes. Even a touch of a eurotashy type score. Even the acting, as its meant to be, nice and cheesy. They had that spot on, if indeed it was meant to be a homage or actually set in the 70s (I'll come back to that later).

That's really all the positives I took away from it. You could say it's style over substance. Anna Biller certainly tried to add something of substance in there which just ended up being one long joke. A very long, 2 hour joke.

First of all, let's touch on the 70s vibe, remembering that I've only seen the one trailer (I don't watch many trailers or clips for the same film due to the amount of disappointed when watching the film) and read no other reviews, till that 10 minute mark anyway. My first gripe and probably the major one, with the way the movie looked and felt, if you're going to make a film so overpowered with a 60s/70s feel then set it in the 60s/70s. Seeing a very small amount of modern cars mixed in with all the old (the opening scene - the police car. Shortly after - the BMW pulling up outside the house) "classic" cars really throws off that feeling.

The other and only issue, a big one as a whole. The whole film was one big kick in the balls to men by a female director that's clearly one of these modern third-wave pseudo feminists (that's had a few bad experiences, but don't worry, her and her 10 cats will live happily ever after together)! Quite frankly it ruined the film turning it into, one big joke. It ended up being a 2 hour long feminist propaganda film. It ended up being a mess, not deciding what it wanted to be. A Pagan Witch film? A Hammer film? A homage film? Set in present day film? A sexist film? A feminist's wet dream? It's ended up being nothing more than a spoof.

You can read my full review on Maven's Movie Vault of Horror.
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6/10
A rather interesting movie...
paul_haakonsen14 June 2017
First of all I must admit that it took me two attempts to actually get through this movie. Not because this was a bad movie, don't get me wrong. The first time I made it some 25 minutes into it before I had to leave it, as my wife wasn't impressed with what was transpiring on the screen. So I returned to the movie some two weeks later by myself, because I thought that the movie definitely deserved a chance, because I was entertained by what I had seen so far back then during the first round...

...And I am glad that I did return to watch "The Love Witch", because this is definitely an interesting and entertaining movie. I fear that this might be a movie that will be grossly underrated or overlooked, because it is definitely not a mainstream movie. If you happen to pick up this movie, you definitely owe it to yourself to take the time and sit down to watch it.

So "The Love Witch" is set in a modern age, yet there is something very 1970's about it, from the way that people dress, the make-up and the hairstyles. So was the movie supposed to take place during the 1970s or what? If so, then they sure did fail to get the authenticity correct with the cars in most of the scenes where there were cars, as they were cars of newer models. So was this set in the 1970s or modern age spiced up with that unique 1970s wardrobe? That was a little bit confusing.

Samantha Robinson was really great in her portrayal of Elaine, the witch character. She had a particular presence and charm to her which instantly made her the center of attention. Plus it really helped a lot that the costume and make-up department got the character spot on with the wardrobe and cosmetics. This was the first time that I got acquainted with Samantha Robinson and her talent, and she definitely seems like she could be very well on her way for bigger and greater things in Hollywood.

The cast in "The Love Witch" was actually quite good, and it was especially Samantha Robinson who carried the movie. But the cast in general were doing good jobs with their given roles and characters, and the talented performers were nicely cast for these characters.

"The Love Witch" has an alluring and very fitting music score that really accompanies the movie quite well.

Writer and director Anna Biller really had managed to conjure up something quite magical here with what she did with "The Love Witch". Ranging from dialogue and characters to mood and atmosphere, then it was all a great combination that definitely had been put a lot of thought and effort into.

The visuals effects in the movie were also very 1970's, having a very psychedelic feel to it, it terms of color, appearance and function. This was working very well in favor of the movie.

Labeled as a horror comedy, I somehow failed to see the horror aspect of "The Love Witch". It was more of a dark magical comedy of sorts - if there even is such a genre.

Being a movie that revolves around a witch who uses magic to obtain the love of men, there is of course some occult and supernatural aspect to the movie as well. It is done with enough grace and respect without delving into being too much of a focal point for the movie.

"The Love Witch" can be somewhat of an acquired taste, and I think that you must indeed have a love for the world of cinema to truly appreciate "The Love Witch" for what it is. This is not your ordinary mainstream movie by any means.
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9/10
Witty and beautifully shot gem
johnnyrev27 February 2017
I'm happy this time-culture clash exists. The Love Witch is a pitch-perfect pastiche of late 60s, early 70s exploitation movies. A witty examination of shifting attitudes toward gender politics, sexual relations and male-female desire from a vantage point 50 years on by a female director with an obvious affection/obsession for genre and a deep knowledge of the source material.

Visually, the look and feel of the era's style of film is perfectly recreated. So much so, as I watched I sometimes had to remind myself that this was made only last year in 2016. The occasional (and very intentional) glimpses of modern cars parked on streets, and characters talking on mobile phones were, probably, intended to shake the viewer out of that particular delusion. Perhaps, this was a budget constraint cleverly used by Biller to the movie's advantage, as self-reflexive moments like these seem to serve as reminders of the artifice of cinema and cultural style.

Although The Love Witch is a 'feminist' movie, it's not polemically scathing or mean-spirited. In fact, quite the opposite holds true. The Love Witch is gentle and playful; at times sympathetic and forgiving. It is often satirical and ironic and, on occasion, just plain bonkers and laugh-out-loud funny. The dialogue is suitably stilted and the cast's deadpan deliveries are in keeping with the straight/jokey dichotomy of the initial set-up. As for the design and look, Biller (who had several jobs on the crew) really does nail it. Sets, lighting, costumes, hairstyles, photography, editing, acting, story, script, soundtrack all converge and conspire to recreate several genres and sub-genres popular in their day.

However, ultimately The Love Witch is more than just a nostalgic exercise in style. It's a playful tribute to genre movies that actually has quite a lot to say for itself. A retro-style movie with more intelligence and wit than the films it lovingly emulates.
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1/10
Horrible with a twist of ridiculous.
tazlyamarice9 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I went in wanting to enjoy this movie so much. 60's style with a modern day aspect. What a horrible idea...and here I wanted the 60's and 70's style back..well, now I know otherwise.

It's not a horror movie. It's not a comedy. It's a complete waste of time.

The clothing looks homemade, the acting is almost none of the actors took any classes, the dialog is just pitiful... it's more 'we need girl power so let's make some drugs' No magic takes place. She literally is killing men, who adore her to begin with, in search of 'love'.

This movie is crying out that modern day women need more power and to do so we need that perfect man in our life. When he doesn't work out, kill him. Meanwhile, the male witches, warlocks I guess, literally kiss the females feet. In Honor.

Around 50min in, during the little witch get-together. She's suppose to be naked...you can clearly see the straps of her...strap on..even shows it up close getting her arms tied. Later, during another get together with more of the witches, and more naked people. You can't hardly see any strap ons. So, it's not an attempt to make it "old fashioned". It's just bad camera-- which either let us see all the wires, cables, and strap ons..or hide them.

This movie is not only a giant step backward for love everywhere, but Hollywood too.
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2/10
A horror/comedy without the horror/comedy
seangomes18 March 2017
Advertised as a horror/comedy but more like an amateur soft-porn without the horror/comedy or any semblance of an engaging story-line. I valiantly watched till the end for some kind of explanation for the decent IMDb rating, but eventually realised the ratings were probably just for the tits.
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10/10
Genius Direction
bbgunnisart31 March 2017
Anna Biller not only directed this film, but wrote the screenplay, designed costumes, painted set pieces, recorded music, and even wove a pentagram RUG! This movie is a labor of love that exceeds the expectations of low-budget projects. If anything, this film is more beautiful than anything released in the past 20 years. Oh, the story, acting, casting, everything really, is 100% perfection.
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2/10
Just Doesn't Work
larrys315 March 2017
This fantasy tale just didn't work for me on any level. It is highly erotic and colorful, perhaps bordering even on resembling a soft porn flick. I imagine much of it is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek fantasy film but almost all of these intentions fell quite flat, in my opinion.

Samantha Robinson stars here as Elaine, who after a troubled marriage becomes a witch and begins to utilize erotic potions on men in the hopes of finding true love, but all it leads to is disastrous consequences. In my opinion, this movie came across as being quite anti-male, utilizing many male stereotypes. There's tons of nudity in the film, an explicit sex scene, various erotic seductions, plus a couple of rather gruesome bloody scenes as well.

Overall, the movie, written and directed by Anna Biller, can be sumptuous to look at but it never came together for me as anything more than that.
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3/10
Overrated, Unfunny, Tacky and Annoying
claudio_carvalho8 February 2017
The witch Elaine (Samantha Robinson) moves to a small town expecting to find her prince charming. She befriends the local Trish (Laura Waddell) that introduces her husband Richard (Robert Seeley) to her. Soon Elaine seduces Wayne (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) but her spell is too strong and the man dies. When Trish travels and Leaves Richard alone, Elaine seduces him and he does not resist to her charm and commits suicide. Detective Griff (Gian Keys) investigates the case and stumbles upon Elaine that believes he is the love of her life. Will Griff resist to Elaine's spell?

"The Love Witch" is an overrated, unfunny, tacky and annoying film by the unknown Anna Biller that tells the story of the nymphomaniac witch Elaine. It is impressive that after 180 minutes running time it is impossible to laugh of any scene. The film and the acting are so bad that probably these are the jokes. The colors and the locations are tacky. The makeup is so heavy that it is not possible to know whether the lead "actress" is beautiful or not. At least she has a beautiful body and maybe this is the only attraction since she is naked most of the time. The music score is absolutely annoying. The best way to see this movie is using the fast forward button to find Samantha Robinson half-naked. My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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8/10
Anna Biller's labor of love is a unique film experience
paul-allaer5 December 2016
"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 recently "The Love Witch" opened 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 VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "The Love Witch" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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1/10
waste of time
bdewiyah18 April 2017
I was fooled by the 6 rating and it is the worst movie ever!!! It is a flop on all accounts, script,acting, plot, and directing!! Seriously!!??? I think someone made this movie as a joke.Waste waste waste waste waste waste. i kept hoping for something to happen to break the boring monotone going on and on and on!!!! but it kept getting worse and worse if that is even possible.
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1/10
A soft-core porn movie without star nipples!!
ensabahnour15 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is exactly a soft-core porn movie that pretends to be otherwise, while the star is "unprofessionally" - can't stop laughing here - is trying to hide as much of her nipples as she could. Yet they dub this a Hollywood 6.4 IMDb-rated movie. Total crap.

I tell you what, the lead female Samantha summarized the whole story for this movie making in her scene with her friend's husband: She is the love witch that seduced all those critics into high-scoring this porn-failure, managed to get many others to share this deed with her and to get away with a 6.4 IMDb false rating. Perhaps these were just the words that Ana Biller were saying to herself!!!!

Waste of time.
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1/10
Abysmal in the first degree!
iantrader14 April 2017
Well, if you get past the first five minutes, good luck to you!

Writer/director writer/director writer/director writer/director writer/director!!!

The script is abysmally banal, particularly the dialogue, the editing in particular is below first grade and the actors are as wooden as a Norwegian pine forest. It's billed as a homage to 1960 pulp novels but the pulps were well on their way out then, surely. If the aim is to produce a nostalgic flick, really, why bother.

There are several gratuitously nude scenes - compulsory with any witch film - but it's a minor titillation against a boringly incompetent job.

You have to ask yourself why oh why oh why? And how oh how oh how did they get the money? Proves there's more money than sense in movie land so there's hope for would-be filmmakers yet! Which is both good and bad news when they produce garbage like this!

Only die-hard witches need apply. Or watch!
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1/10
What the hell have I just watched?
amichnea5 February 2017
I have no idea what I just watched besides wasting 2 hours of my life. The film is pure acid trip. I will not go into too much detail as it is not worth it, I am just trying to save you 2 hours of your life. I have no idea what the movie was trying to show or do. In all honesty it felt like it was quite disrespectful towards women in general. I did break a laugh here and there but of awkwardness...

However one thing to realise is that the movie is set in modern times, it isn't the 1970's. For whatever reason the people in the movie behave like they are in the 1970's alongside people that are not, including mobile phones and latest modern cars. This means that no you won't see 1970's bushes as someone pointed out. Any bushes you see are 2016 bushes:)) Anyhow, don't bother with this film unless you have 2 hours to spare and nothing else to watch, no need to think, just take a trip on the bonkers lane.
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5/10
Message Undermined By Delivery
AaronDSimpson3 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Even though our society has moved beyond a collective compulsion to burn at the stake, or drown in the nearest body of water, the women who intimidate or confound us, it is still commonplace in our language to discuss femininity in terms of magic and sorcery. One needs only think of the amount of times that we have been described a romance as synonymous with falling 'under a spell', or, the amount of times that dalliances have soured and relationships described as 'curses'. Considering the ease with which these bromides occur in our discourse, it comes as no surprise that Feminist director Anna Biller should want to investigate the seriousness of taking this terminology at its linguistic value.

For example, in Elaine (Robinson) - the eponymous 'love witch' - the viewer finds a young woman that wants only to love and be loved in return. However, a bad experience with her ex-husband Jerry (Wozniak) leaves her with a broken heart and in doubt of men's capacity to love. Elaine turns to magic, using the comfort of Tarot and the structure of other practitioners to re-establish a sense of order in her world turned upside down. Believing, as Biller does, that men can only go so deeply into love and struggle to substantiate lust with emotion, Elaine begins to use 'sex magic' to create 'love magic'. She quickly realises, however, that her magic is too strong and that the combined agency of her eros and her philia is too much for the, newly-dubbed, weaker sex and causes their deaths. Through these interactions Elaine becomes something of a serial killer, dispatching each man that she encounters with the intensity of her love. It is often unclear throughout the film how responsible she is for the deaths. Whilst it is true that she gives Wayne (Parise) a homemade alcoholic concoction including hallucinogenic herbs which contribute to his expiration, it is presented on the screen that his death was the fault of his inability to contain the complex emotions he was developing for Elaine. It is not until her final victim, the police officer investigating the trail of deceased men, Griff (Keys), that her murderous inclinations are exposed, as she drives a knife into his heart in ritualistic homage to the painting that she has on her bedroom wall.

The message that Biller has for us through The Love Witch is a potent one, and Elaine is a figurehead for the conflicted woman of the twenty-first century, both an empowered female, yet one in possession of ingrained misogynistic discourse. Biller demonstrates that men criminalise and fear women for their sexuality and their self-empowerment in much the same way as witches were centuries ago, and shows that women can use their oppressed position to gain leverage; yes, provide men with what they want but in a way that allows you to engineer what you want from the situation.

Whilst the director's criticism on gender relations is something to be taken seriously, it is difficult at times to view The Love Witch as more than satiric farce that undermines the seriousness of the film's subtext. For example, the film is full of all of the over-acting of a B-Movie compensating for a small cast and low production budget, extreme close-ups that create suspense in spite of the dialogue, pretending to drive cars against backdrops, gaudy sets and garish costumes, and sneaking phrases of Für Elise into the soundtrack. If it wasn't for the fact that Biller claims all aesthetic similarities to 1970s films were accidental, except for instances of lighting, then The Love Witch could be considered a masterclass in vintage framing. However, if these style choices were unintentional, it serves to suggest an instantly outdated quality to the film, or an unusual creative direction, that fails to appeal to a mainstream audience.

There are many of us that have a secret passion for B-Movies, and could learn to appreciate the aesthetic that The Love Witch offers in the same way that we accept The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), only without the music, and everything according to the colour scheme of a Tarot deck. It seems likely that even fewer could appreciate the static characters, and the incongruous scene changes. Moving from a hard-boiled detective segment, to ridiculing the police investigating a 'witch bottle' and revealing that they have never seen a used tampon, to a medieval renaissance fair and mock-weddings, the film invites you on a roller-coaster ride of satire, whimsy, and independent scenes that would have worked better as sketches or as short films.

One could argue that all of these characteristics were intentional and contribute to the symbolic meaning of The Love Witch; the shallowness of the plot to reflect the perceptions of women as superficial creatures, the episodic manslaughter to demonstrate the criminalisation of femininity during acts of self-empowerment, and the incongruous scene changes to create a sense of confusion and nonsense to comment on the representation of women in contemporary society. Whilst all these things may be true, and certainly should be factored when absorbing and meditating upon the film's message about gender relations, it does not constitute good cinema. It is difficult to be dismissive of a film that is clearly offering something important to society beyond the entertainment of Hollywood Blockbusters, and yet, what is the value of the message if the film is presented in a style that is unappealing to its audience?

Read extended reviews like this at 'The Cineaste Review' on WordPress - thecineastereview.wordpress.com
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2/10
Two hours I wish I could get back!
prsguitar16 March 2017
The movie was awful with terrible acting throughout. I added one star because there are a couple of beautiful women in it, especially the lead actress. However, that was all as far as anything worth seeing, and let's face it, there are a ton of good movies out there with attractive women as well as men (for the women out there) who can actually act. I don't know - maybe with a better script, direction and production values things might be different. But the bottom line is that this movie was a waste of time that I never would have watched if not for the relatively high IMDb review score and the picture of the lead actress (Did I mention she is beautiful? But that isn't enough to carry this awful movie.). I recommend people avoid this film.
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6/10
a delight for lovers of sixties, early seventies horror
trashgang17 March 2017
This is a difficult one to review because it isn't really a horror. There's nothing scary about it and I can understand that a lot of geeks out there rejected this throwback to the sixties early seventies.

If you watch it in that perspective then you will like this a lot because the way the cinematography was done is clearly an ode to those days. In fact, the score, the editing, the lighting, the colour grading the way of acting and speaking, it's all done in a sixties style. Maybe for some clocking in at two hours is way too long for some and I can understand that because it's all talking and talking. But it do offers some 'magick' when the witches arrive. It's so beautifully done and it all looks like a real coven. The nudity, the rituals, everything.

So if you are into witchcraft then this is one to pick up. If you are into very old horrors with talking and talking it's your stuff. If you think you are going to see gore or even red stuff, forget it.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 1,5/5 Effects 0/5 Story 2/5 Comedy 0/5
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10/10
Over the Rainbow with THE LOVE WITCH
cola-vision20 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
THE LOVE WITCH (2016) Anna Biller

OVER THE RAINBOW WITH THE LOVE WITCH

Elaine, played by the stunning Samantha Robinson, is seen driving along a sunny seashore landscape filmed with back projection recalling Melanie driving across the landscapes in Hitchcock's The Birds. She is pulled over by a cop along a lonely road that also recalls Psycho. With director Anna Biller referencing Hitchcock, she brings to attention the realisation that we are about to watch a 'film'.

After arriving at a wonderfully creepy looking mansion and being greeted by Trish, played brilliantly by Laura Waddell, Elaine settles into her garishly decorated apartment. Later, alone at home and making a love spell, her repetitive cry of 'love me, love me, love me' signals that she feels a part of her is missing.

Elaine soon meets Trish's husband Richard & Wayne a university professor where games of seduction soon follow. After meeting detective Griff does she finally feel she has met the man of her dreams.

Shot on 35mm film, The Love Witch looks glorious with it's eye popping colours shot by cinematographer by M. David Mullen. Anna Biller not only designed the sets, made the costumes, wrote, produced and directed, but also scored some of the music and edited the film.

The film's design evokes the feel of the late 60's and early 70's but functions in it's own Filmic universe. It is so far removed from the 'sexploitation' label sometimes given that references to Jess Franco, Russ Meyer or Italian Gialli is completely missing the point. These films rely on the male gaze and set pieces revelling in sex or violence which has little in common with the films of Anna Biller.

The Love Witch has more in common with filmmakers like Demy with his clear colours, elaborate costume or to the subversive cinema of Buñuel. Also Sirk and Fassbinder for their classic melodrama and Hitchcock for his psychological character studies and beyond.

Like the Pied Piper's hypnotic music, the films visual beauty is also it's deadly trap. This highly sensual illusion with it's shimmering textures and jewel like colours is a smokescreen that is both seductive and dangerous.

If we are to believe that the pathological actions of Elaine are a result of an 'objectified abused woman', then the whole film can be viewed from another angle.

From Elaine's sudden flashbacks to the satanic ritual scenes being stripped and ordered by the quietly creepy Gahan, played by Jared Sanford, to the strip teasing Elaine performs in front of her lovers, there is something slightly uncomfortable and out of place. Though Elaine seems to be in control it feels as if she is going through the motions with her body but not in mind!

In one scene, Elaine during an erotic dance, takes her rainbow lined jacket off and hands it to her dizzy and lustful lover Wayne. Viewed from his point of view through a 'rainbow' filter, it gives the impression that Elaine is consumed by a hypnotic drug herself with rainbow colours swirling about her. The image of Elaine is further split into several images, by filming her through a kaleidoscope filter, that literally shows her with a 'fractured psyche'.

Elaine's dissociation is further witnessed during the scene where Trish expresses her sadness in finding her own husband dead. Instead of showing any kind of genuine sorrow towards Trish, Elaine demonstrates an odd blankness, with the numbing of her emotions a further sign that she is suffering from some kind of trauma.

These blank stares are also witnessed with the Gemini Twins, Moon and Star. They perform in an awkward erotic dance on stage like a single person split into two, a mirror image, again reinforcing signs of dissociation. The cheering and lustful men ignoring the women's oddness is also a sad reminder of some men's refusal to acknowledge women in mind, body and soul.

The idea of transformation is also a fascinating insight into the film. At one point Trish, alone in Elaine's bedroom begins to take on the look of Elaine by donning a black wig and applying the same make up. In an attempt to feel and look like Elaine she begins to lose her own identity and for a brief moment of fantasy becomes another person. This could be seen as a reference to the transformations seen in Hitchcock's Marnie and Vertigo.

The final scenes showing Griff refusing Elaine's love results in her exploding with the ultimate expression of rage and ridding herself of oppression by stabbing Griff to death. Suddenly reverting back to her earlier wedding fantasy with Griff, Elaine subconsciously escapes for a moment from her painful reality. We see Elaine led away by her prince on a white horse, the sadness in her face a reminder that her story is stuck in tragic dreamy limbo.

If art is an expression of the artist then depending on how personal The Love Witch is to Anna Biller then incorrect criticisms and dismissal of the film's important themes could be viewed as a personal attack on the director herself and not the actual film!

The Love Witch doesn't offer easy answers, but shows that the transforming of darkness into something positive is a cathartic process that can also offer viewers an opportunity to explore their own complexities. Not only made with care and passion and with a 'cinephiles' eye, it demonstrates the wonderful possibilities of what cinema can actually be.

Combining dream logic in a sensuous fantasy world in which anything can happen, The Love Witch is a film where real emotions and psychological truths are presented with determined honesty. If you are willing to ride it's lustrous waves and explore it's darker themes then The Love Witch is a film that has much to discover and enjoy.

Shaun Cola
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1/10
This is so bad, I thought it was a joke
geolabuk4 February 2017
The filming looks like 70s. Terrible back projection while driving an open top car, not a hair out of place.

The makeup is so thick the characters look like puppets from the original 60s Thunderbirds.

The acting is so bad too,the actors waiting for each other to finish their line, then a slight pause before delivering theirs. Even the clothes look 60s and 70s.

25 minutes into the film, the clothes come off, aha, this is an attempt at grindhouse but you can only laugh at the 70s man with his yellow Y fronts getting onto the bed.

I feel sorry for the actors.
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7/10
The soundtrack is great
christopher-underwood28 March 2017
From the director of Viva, this has the same attention to period detail, with so much loving going into the interior detail and colour and the lavish costumes and make-up. I enjoyed this one but not as overwelmingly as the previous film. There is no lesser an affection for the genre, 60s/70s sex and witchcraft, but I don't think the genre has quite the same potential and the earlier sex and drugs homage. Clearly Anne Biller is totally fascinated with the period and whilst it would have been easy to make a comedy making fun of the films she has rightly resisted but we are left with something somewhat unfullfilling. Many have suggested this is too long and this may be so because without a strong storyline, it is difficult to get by, just on imitation and attention to detail, however successful. The soundtrack is great, much Morricone of course, and this helps and not least the fantastic performance from Samantha Robinson who gets it absolutely right in every scene.
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