Plot: What’s it about?
Elaine (Samantha Robinson) wants to be loved. Like she really, really wants to be loved, to the point is consumes her existence. Her last relationship wasn’t a positive one in the end, so she heads out for a fresh start. She rents an apartment with a definite occult slant and she loves it, as she happens to be a witch herself. While she is beautiful and has no problem getting attention, Elaine wants to stack the odds in her favor even further. If that means crafting some love spells or love potions, she has no problem doing just that. She soon meets a man who catches her fancy and the two head to his remote cabin, where a night of romance seems imminent. But after a love potion, the man begins to break down emotionally and Elaine loses her attraction. He is so weakened that Elaine winds up having to bury him, hiding his corpse in one the nearby gardens. Now she is back out on the prowl, but the man’s disappearance start to raise some concerns. When a detective asks Elaine about the man, she sees a chance to once again pursue love, even though the danger seems high. Will Elaine find true love at long last or will she tire of the detective, repeating her vicious cycle?
>A tribute to the old school genre pictures of the 60s and 70s, this is a lavish movie that sports one of the most impressive visual designs I’ve seen in decades. I had to rewatch the movie and pause in most of the scenes, so I could see all the details and small touches. You can immerse yourself as you watch the story unfold, but the visuals are so rich, a further examination is worthwhile. The vivid colors bounce off the screen almost, with excellent production design that bolsters the visual atmosphere. The prop choices and set dressing are beyond great, adding so much to the look and world of the film. I seriously couldn’t believe how beautiful The Love Witch looks, it is a visual masterpiece. Samantha Robinson is included in that aesthetic, as she fits in perfectly and adds even more beauty. The makeup and wardrobe work are stunning, making her look like a living work of art at times. The story is interesting and explores how the genders treat love, as well as Elaine’s own special blend of sociopath and extreme narcissism. I’ll leave the deep pondering to others, as I was too lost in the beautiful visuals and strong lead performance to contemplate the social issues involved. I think The Love Witch is a triumph of filmmaking, an artistic and unforgettable experience that has great worth in repeat sessions. This is not a horror movie in the usual sense, but it should appeal to genre fans and anyone who appreciates visual design.
Video: How’s it look?
The Love Witch is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. The movie boasts gorgeous visual design and this transfer ensures it looks fantastic. The incredible colors are rich and vivid, almost otherworldly at times. The reds are so vivid, but contrast is spot on, keeping black levels in check. This means we have deep, inky blacks and vibrant, eye popping color, just what the film requires. The level of detail is excellent as well, with the smallest little touches visible. This again boosts the visuals, as every inch of the screen is sharp and shows remarkable depth. Just a top of the line visual effort.
Audio: How’s it sound?
A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is present and it sounds good, but this movie doesn’t have the same scope to the audio as it does visuals. The sound design is solid, but doesn’t have much depth or movement, which is fine in this case. The music sounds excellent and dialogue is perfect, which is the main drive in this movie, so it makes sense. The other elements are well presented, but the mix just isn’t memorable or overly impressive. It does what it needs to do. This release also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – This session has writer/director Anna Biller, cinematographer M. David Mullen, actor Samantha Robinson and producer/actor Jared Sanford assembled to discuss the movie. This proves to be mostly a technical conversation between Biller and Mullen, with only sporadic comments from the others, but there’s a lot of information here.
- Behind the Scenes – About ten minutes of Biller talking about the movie, not the most in depth, but it is a welcome inclusion. I’d love to have seen a feature length look into how The Love Witch was brought to life, from conception to reception. Even so, its nice to hear Biller’s insights, however brief.
- Interview – Again, about ten minutes, this time with Mullen. The piece focus on the choice to use 35mm and how that impacted his approach, as well as his view on the film’s visual style.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – Two deleted scenes and a number of alternate takes on other sequences
- Theatrical Trailers & Promo Video – This has two different theatrical trailers and a quick dance audition tape from Robinson.
The Bottom Line
A gorgeous, painstaking tribute to genre films of the 60s and 70s, The Love Witch is a visual feast of epic proportions. A fantastic lead and engaging story combine with those beautiful visuals to give us a memorable experience. Oscilloscope Laboratories gives the movie quite the royal treatment as well, so this release is highly recommended.