Combustible Celluloid
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With: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Evans
Written by: Anna Biller
Directed by: Anna Biller
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 120
Date: 11/11/2016

The Love Witch (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Preconceived Potions

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many movies lately have tried to pay tribute to that special kind of bold, pastel-colored European horror film of the 1970s, but only Anna Biller's The Love Witch (2016) is so authentic it seems to have arrived as if via a time capsule. It's so thoroughly steeped in its design that no hint of the modern day comes through (it was shot on honest-to-goodness 35mm film). It's a long movie, sometimes bizarre and unsettling, but frequently sexy and mesmerizing, thanks mainly to the presence of Samantha Robinson as Elaine, the title witch. She decides she wants to find her ideal mate, moves to California, rents a room in a Victorian house, and begins casting spells. But these prove too much for a teacher, a cop, and a married man to handle. The movie's satirical look at male and female roles and mores is the only thing that seems out of the 21st century, but refreshingly so; Biller brilliantly uses the genre format to sprinkle her discourse with a little fun.

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