THE WITCHES (2020)
Octavia Spencer is an absolute delight and Anne Hathaway is in campy heaven in Roald Dahl’s The Witches, a remake of the 1990 film that left children petrified.
In a world where witches exist and despise young children, a young orphaned boy ends up in one’s crosshairs, leading to he and his grandmother (Spencer) hiding out at a hotel that just happens to be hosting a coven. If you’re familiar with the Angelica Houston version, you know how creepy and strange the story becomes when young kids are turned into mice. This version isn’t quite as traumatizing, rather it leans more towards a family-friendly film that Dahl originally had hoped for. Hathaway’s Grand High Witch leans into a more manic and goofy character rather than a terrifying figure. In fact, the entire production is more welcoming, from the color palette to Spencer’s absolutely enthralling role as a grandmother.
The film falters, however, in that a strong start (complete with a Chris Rock voiceover) whittles away into a somewhat sluggish second and third act. All of the key strokes those familiar with the story know are there, but modern CGI and the performance of the two leading ladies aren’t enough to lead this film to anything more than a fine film.
The Witches is available on HBO Max.
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