The Love Witch: Review

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Blood Sugar Sex Magik

A kitschy pastiche of sixties melodrama and psychedelic sexploitation from writer-director Anna Biller that fuses retro aesthetics with wit and tongue-in-cheek feminism.

Following the death of her husband, the enigmatic Elaine breezes into town on a cloud of cigarette smoke and incense. As she settles into her new house and finds a suitable shop for her homemade witchy crafts, she begins her fresh hunt for love. But it’s not long before her sexy spells and wicked wiles leave a trail of broken hearts – literally.

With the dashing detective Griff investigating a spate of suspicious and fatal heart attacks amongst the local men, Elaine finds that her search for love might be even more complicated than before.

The Love Witch certainly looks the part, and with Biller taking a hands-on approach to set design, costume and music – in addition to writing, directing and editing the film – she’s stamped her visual identity all over it. Not only was the film shot on actual film, but every frame and angle screams sixties Technicolor and charm. So immersive is Biller’s cinematic precision, that it’s startling to see a character pull an iPhone out of their purse, but this incongruity only serves to add to the eerie timelessness of the movie.

Key to the film’s success though is the portrayal of Elaine, and the sultry Samantha Robinson throws herself into an enchanting and playful performance. Calculating yet coquettish, Robinson’s titular witch keeps the audience guessing as we’re offered sneaky peeks into her internal struggles and true intentions. With her killer charisma and striking looks, the image of a minor cult icon might be in the tarot cards.

The film won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and even those that appreciate the distinctive chic might find their patience stretched thinner than the film’s plot by its 120-minute runtime, but The Love Witch is an exquisitely executed curio of modern cinema.

The Love Witch will screen at the Abertoir International Horror Festival on 20th November amidst a host of old classics and new blood. Tickets and further information can be found at

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