Anna Biller (director)
10 March 2017 (released)
07 March 2017
Elaine (Samantha Robinson) has been having problems finding a man. Moving to an impressive, gothic mansion she sets about rectifying this. Now being witch she can use her powers to attract any man she wants, with a few potions and charms. And she does but unfortunately, they tend to be uniformly useless, so have to be disposed of.
This leads to suspicions from neighbours and investigations by the police. Slowly things to start to unravel for Elaine, who is only looking for love and companionship.
Anna Biller’s film – who wrote, directed, edited, produced and almost everything else – is visually striking. The set designs are exquisite - the pink Victorian tea room is wonderful. The rich bright colour palate coupled with a retro soundtrack, blended with the actors faux wooden acting and full faced camera work is an affectionate pastiche of 60’s and 70’s horror, albeit with a very modern context.
On a superficial level the men are almost all uniformly twits – the two investigating coppers are prime examples - womanisers or love lorn losers needier than a new-born.
Go deeper and it could be argued that the women are just as facile; desperately looking for love, feeling incomplete unless manacled to said twit. That could apply to Trish (Laura Waddell) who befriends Elaine. She is happily married until Elaine casts a love spell, with terrible consequences. This could be seen as a supreme act of cruelty and selfishness. It is though countered by the treatment that Elaine suffers at the hands men before.
While it may sound preachy, and some of the dialogue can come across as simplistic, there are some subtle subtexts here. It is also quite funny in parts. There aren’t any great belly laughs, but there are some memorable scenes; the British professor so po-facedly explaining witchcraft and the sequence when Elaine and her suitor Griff (Gian Keys) stumble on a medieval fayre in the woods are highlights. The films enjoyment will probably be enhanced by the viewers familiarity with era and films that are pastiched, which are old now, and were niche even then.