Film Review: The Love Witch


[3/5]

In association with Glasgow Film Theatre

The Love Witch is an… interesting wee film to say the least. Directed by renowned feminist director Anna Biller, who previously brought us Viva (2007), the film is a metaphorical and highly stylised look at relationships and the love game. Samantha Robinson portrays Elaine, a modern day witch who brews and casts love potions and spells in order to make men fall in love with her. Dire consequences arise for her and those around her as they take effect.

Although it does get severely bogged down by its deliberate B-Movie like approach to its acting and soundtrack, a decision that’ll make it or break it for many, it’s hard not to admire the film for being as bizarre and stylish as it is. The concept is a cool idea and it does pave the way for the director’s vision to emerge in a variety ways. The way Elaine dresses all in black but will suddenly turn her clothes inside out to show off rainbow patterns is just one way in which this is expressed. The use of colour as well as light and shadow make for a fairly entrancing atmosphere, however vibrant or dark.

What’s also commendable is the look of the film. It has a grainy vibe to its cinematography that harkens back to horror films from the 70s and before. It elevates the sense of uncanny to its idea to build suspense and allow the audience to soak up its characters and feminist themes, with its suggestions on feminism and how it utilises them probably being the best thing about the film. It examines the idea of sexual relations in the sense of them seeming attractive and appealing externally but can be frightening when you peel back the layers, which is the film’s, and the main character’s, morbid yet intriguing depiction of love.

From its dark imagery contrasting its colour palette yet well-grounded themes on feminism and love we get a film that’s pretty absorbing but not quite as provocative or smart as it would like to be.  However, due to the delightfully strange nature of its story, acting and craftsmanship, as well as harbouring the best of intentions, it is enjoyable.  It’ll either be lost to obscurity or one day garner a loyal cult following. We’ll just leave the passage of time to that one.

[Calum Cooper]

The film will be screened at Glasgow Film Theatre from the 20th until the 23rd of March. Tickets available here.

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