“The Love Witch” Movie Review

“The Love Witch” is a send-off of campy 1960s pulp paperbacks and femme fatale movies. The story is a witchy, oddly feminist combination of comedy and horror that explores the relationships between men and women in a way that can only be described as satirical. The film was written, directed and designed by a rather talented woman named Anna Biller. I’m about to go through the entire plot including all the spoilers so if you want to be surprised just read the first paragraph and then skip down to the last paragraph.

Elaine is a lovely young witch who has just arrived in the witch-friendly town of Arcata, California, to begin life anew after the death (spousal murder?) of her husband Jerry. She rents an apartment which is owned by her mentor Barbara and decorated in a witchy style by a woman named Trish. Trish takes Elaine to a cottagecore-style teahouse in an effort to become friends. While there Elaine meets Richard, the husband of Trish. As soon as Elaine and Richard gaze into each others eyes is pretty clear that the man finds Elaine attractive.

Elaine casts a spell to try and find a new lover. She meets Wayne, a literature professor from the local college. Instead of taking the time to get to know Wayne a little bit and going on a date she outright proposes to him that they go out to his cabin with the implication being that they’re going to have sex.

When they arrive Elaine gives a flask full of hallucinogens to Wayne who eagerly drinks them down. They engage in psychedelic sex and after finishing Wayne becomes  clingy and emotional. Elaine finds this to be really obnoxious. Wayne dies the next day and Elaine buries him along with a witch bottle that contains her urine and a used tampon.

Elaine concludes that if she seduces Richard he will not obsess over her because he is married (Elaine is not the sharpest pencil in the box). She invites him to her apartment and they end up boning. Shock of shock, Richard becomes obsessed with her. Elaine gets irritated and abandons the affair. Apparently nobody ever explained to this so-called love witch that the whole point of love magick is to make the target obsessed with you but oh well.

One of Waynes colleagues reports his disappearance to law enforcement. Police officer Griff goes out to Waynes cabin to investigate and finds his body buried with Elaines witch bottle. Griff traces the bottle back to Elaine. He falls in love with her and refuses to belive she’s a killer, much to the annoyance of his partner Steve. Elaine falls madly in love with Griff, even going so far as to hold a imaginary wedding with Griff at a renaissance fair.

Griff’s boss tells him to stop investigating Elaine as a suspect, it turns out there’s a tenuous relationship between the law and the local witch community and his boss doesn’t want to deal with it. It is then revealed that Wayne died of a heart attack. The devil weed found in his system grew around his cabin. It also turns out Jerry died from a drug overdose shortly before remarrying, even though he wasn’t a known drug user.

Richard, heartbroken by the loss of Elaine, kills himself in the bathtub. His body is discovered by his wife Trish. She’s horribly depressed and decides to invite Elaine to tea. Trish tries on a ring that Griff gave Elaine during their make-believe wedding, only to later realize that she forgot to give it back to Elaine. When Trish goes to leave the ring inside Elaines apartment she discovers a shrine to Elaines dead lovers. To her horror she realizes that Richard is among them. She gets in a fight with Elaine and leaves the apartment with the evidence she needs to connect Elaine to Richard.

Elaine goes to the local cabaret to meet with Griff. He confronts her about the deaths of Wayne and Richard, pointing out that she has been tied to both men by DNA evidence and the ring. Griff is willing to overlook his own feelings if it means Elaine will face justice. When the anti-witch patrons in the cabaret overhear their conversation they go absolutely batshit and attempt to assault Elaine. Griff kicks some ass and helps Elaine escape to her apartment. Griff has been badly injured in the fight and Elaine tends to his wounds. She mixes together another one of her hallucinatory love potions for Griff but he knocks it on the floor, glaring at her the entire time. Elaine gasps and is horrified by his rejection. She grabs her ritual knife and stabs him in the heart. Now that Griff is dead Elaine enters a state of complete and utter madness and the movie and with her imagining that Griff had actually married her at the Renaissance fair.

This movie looks really damn good. Anna Biller has an amazing sense of style and artistry. The story is cheesy and kind of ridiculous but purposely so. The moral seems to be not to have overwhelming and unrealistic expectations in the realm of love. It’s obvious that the creator of this film took the time to study witchcraft and I was very impressed with the authenticity of some of the practices on display. There is some nudity and a couple of scenes that imply sexual assault so this is not an appropriate film for children, however it might be all right for teenagers with adult supervision. I would highly recommend watching this movie, visually it’s an absolute treat and the story is very engaging.- Zwahk (Image from IMDb.com)

Published by Zwahk Muchoney

I'm an eclectic author who hails from the city of Seattle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: