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A modern day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a tribute to 1960s pulp novels and Technicolor melodramas.

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The Love Witch movie full length review - A bold and seductive retro-styled horror melodrama

The first thing I have to say about The Love Witch is that it is one of the most beautiful looking new films I have seen for quite some time.

Shot on 35mm it is sumptuously photographed, with exquisite use of colour and costuming throughout. It's a treat for the eyes, clearly going for the look of a film made in 1971. It achieves this very successfully, except perhaps for the presence of background modern vehicles and a scene with a mobile phone. Director Anna Biller ? who also impressively wrote and produced this as well as scored some of it and made a lot of the great outfits ? says that the film is supposed to be set in contemporary times but to be honest it never feels this way! This feels like it's circa 1970 all the way and, quite frankly, all the better for it. This extends to the acting styles, lighting and compositions, which all hark back to the styles of this earlier glorious cinematic era. Topping it off, there is some music taken directly from the 1971 films The Fifth Cord and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, both composed by soundtrack genius Ennio Morricone. These bits of avant-garde mood music are full of tension and female sighs and really fit into the feel of the film very well. The fact that the music also comes specifically from Italian giallo films cannot also be a coincidence. These stylish pulp thrillers hit their peak in the early 70's and much of the visual feel of The Love Witch felt like it was at least partially a homage to the delirious colourful approach these movies embraced back in the day.

The story is about an urban witch whose ultimate aim is to get the perfect man. She moves to a new house and immediately starts ensnaring men in her deadly web. Newcomer Samantha Robinson plays the title role and she is very impressive. She certainly looks the part with her great outfits and outstandingly provocative eye make-up. Her performance is lightly erotic and humorous. There are in actual fact several somewhat funny moments sprinkled throughout the movie with all of the actors successfully contributing. Unusually for a film of its type, it has a feminist message interwoven into it. Biller made the quite valid point that if you want men to listen to feminist ideas in a movie then you really have to include them in a film that they are liable to pitch up to in the first place. To this end we have a film featuring, on the one hand, a gorgeous seductive sensual witch, while at the same time, some feminist theory added to the mix ? so everyone's a winner basically.

It could probably be argued that at two hours it's a bit overlong. But I loved the ambition and, in particular, the visual beauty of the thing. It's certainly one of the more bold and interesting genre experiments of recent years. Clearly it is going to divide audiences, as it will be too much for some folks to fully get behind but I think if you have a particular love of the early 70's strand of exploitation cinema then this one has a pretty good chance of rocking your boat.