|Starring||Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Waddell, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley|
|Release||10 MAR (UK) Certificate 15|
I’m not saying that The Love Witch should have gone full Garth Marenghi… but I am saying that I almost certainly would have enjoyed it more if it did. Although I am also fully prepared to believe that even suggesting that is hugely insulting and that I definitely just 'don’t get it'.
There is still lots to enjoy in any case, not least the deliberately hollow performances. Samantha Robinson completely inhabits her role as Elaine, the titular sorceress so desperate for love she uses a brew of potions, womanly guile and a willingness to be subservient to male fantasies to ensnare her besotted victims until they are reduced to emasculated, sobbing messes. Meanwhile the supporting cast bring the occasional laugh, with Jeffrey Vincent Parise in particular providing the funniest character moments in the film, charting goofy hound dog to whimpering puppy in just one lustful night.
All in all though, the real passion on display here is that of writer-director Anne Biller, who laboured over this film for seven and a half years and who even served as set and costume designer for much of the production to stage the film perfectly. And it shows – not as a film that suffers from a low budget, but as a film that has clearly been the subject of as much slavish devotion as the Love Witch herself.
Sadly, this also translates as self-indulgence when it comes to the film’s running time, which stands at a decidedly lumbering two hours. It’s a stretch that feels even longer because the film goes for tribute over fun; it worships more than it entertains. And as such, it feels like a film to admire rather than enjoy.
But then that’s just me. I wouldn’t say that I’m squarely in the key demographic for feminist retro fantasy films, and that’s ok. So I am left impressed by a film that I just didn’t connect with. I have been utterly seduced, I’m just not in love.