Movie Review: The Witches


DATE: OCTOBER 22, 2020

Nostalgia in this day and age plays a big role on how many films get adapted. In the age of novels, comic books, and children’s stories being adapted into live action movies and television series, there is no doubt there’s money to be made from this property. In terms of adapting children’s stories into movies such as Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, and Jumanji, they haven’t done well critically or financially at the box office, but they still gained a massive cult following over the years from audiences who grew up watching them. Now nostalgia will once again take its place for the old fans and become a new experience for new fans in this reboot of the classic dark children’s book, The Witches.

The Witches begins in Alabama in 1968. The opening scene shows a slide show being told by the narrator (Chris Rock) explaining the history of the witches and how he first encountered one in his youth. Young Luke Eveshim (Jahzir Bruno) in the back of a flipped car had just experienced a car accident where his parents were unfortunately killed. Luke sits sad and alone in the hospital lobby with nowhere to go. Fortunately, Luke’s loving grandmother (Octavia Spencer) comes after hearing the devasting news and takes her grandson in.

The next day, Luke’s grandma welcomes him to his new home. They go exploring in the house until Luke gets settled in. He spends a large period of his time in grief and grandma does her best to lift his spirits. She cooks him full meals, plays joyful music throughout the house, and dances for his amusement, but it’s still not enough to break his heart break mood. Eventually Grandma has had enough of Luke feeling sorry for himself and confronts him by telling him to move on with his life upon which Luke does.

The next day Luke and his grandmother go to the market for fresh groceries. Luke walks down the aisle and encounters a strange woman who offered him candy and suddenly a snake appears on her arm. Luke is frightened and turns to yell for his grandma, but the strange woman vanishes as soon as he turns his back. The two return home hurriedly and Luke’s grandmother becomes concerned as to why Luke was in  such a rush to leave the market. Luke explains the strange woman he encountered, and his grandmother is convinced that he may have seen a witch who came to abduct him. With no hesitation, the two head off to a far away hotel resort. However, not only do Luke and his grandmother coincidentally go to a hotel filled with witches but will soon face the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) herself.

The Witches is mildly entertaining and somewhat dark for younger viewers. It lacks a certain charm that the original 1990’s adaption had with its use of practical effects replaced with modern day Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). The film can often drag during the first act but gets more interesting to watch when the witches finally show up. The cast for the most part do a passable job, but Anne Hathaway delivers a sinister performance as the lead antagonist. While not the best adaptation compared to the original, it’s still a nice film that can be viewed by the entire family.

The Witches receives 6 stars out of 10 stars.