The long awaited remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches is here but does it live up to the nostalgia of the original film? Yes and No.
The film is directed by Robert Zemeckisand written by Zemeckis, Kenya Barris, and Guillermo del Toro. It is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl and is the second feature-length adaptation of the novel, following the 1990 film of the same name directed by Nicolas Roeg. The film stars Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci, and is narrated by Chris Rock.
The remake is set in 1968 Alabama, an orphaned young boy named Jack stumbles across a conference of witches while staying with his grandmother at a hotel, and gets transformed into a mouse by the Grand High Witch when he discovers her plan to turn all children into vermin. He and Grandma, with the help of two other children, turned into mice named Bruno and Mary, must foil the witches’ scheme and kill the Grand High Witch.
So it has the same basic story beats as the original film only the setting is switched from Norway to Alabama which is a little odd. If they were going switch the setting to America I wish they would have changed to a part of the country that is at least somewhat associated to Witches like Salem.
Nevertheless, Hathaway, Spencer, and the young Jahzir Bruno deliver some outstanding performances. The tone of the film is noticeably darker than the original 90s film. Part of the goofy fun of the original film was its whimsical nature. This film tries to do that but kind of leans in more to the horror side of things. Great for older fans, maybe not so much for the little ones.
The CGI and makeup work range from very good to meh. I feel as though with dark comedies like this you can kind of give them a pass on that though. The Witches all have a Joker/Pennywise like stretched out and scarred mouths with large fangs giving them an unnerving look when they finally reveal their true form.
I really didn’t like the ending of this remake. The fact that the kids, including Jack, remain mice at the end with no cure seemed pretty messed up. Plus the montage of the mice traveling America with Grandma just made me think of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
In conclusion, The Witches is a worthwhile watch this Halloween season but it lacks a certain magic that the original 90s film had. HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience give The Witches a MILD RECOMMEND.