SO I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot lately and I figured it was time to write about it.
The Love Witch came out in 2016 and was written, directed, edited, and designed by Anna Biller. Biller’s aesthetic can be traced back to her first short ” Three Examples of Myself as Queen”. She has a keen attention to detail which actually delayed the release of this movie. This movie has a grainy look, an all encompassing set design, and a 60’s inspired aesthetic. The movie was filmed on 35mm film and it was lit and shot to be as close to 1960 technicolor as possible. Anna Biller kills it. This movie has her heart and soul in it and it shows.
The Love Witch follows a young woman, Elaine, who is leaving home after the death of her husband. She rents a gorgeous home and attempts to start a new life in a new city. Elaine practices what is called “love magic” and she uses it to meet and captivate men. Her use of “love magic” often has many unintended consequences. The love magic often leaves her feeling unfulfilled and lonely. It also leaves the men she spellbinds short of a pulse. She finally meets the man of her dreams but her past encounters with men force her to reevaluate.
The part I love the most about this movie is Elaine’s obsession with love. I find it interesting how that is correlated with her ultimate downfall. She was conditioned to love and to be loved and if not, she is doomed. Scary huh? Its not too far fetched from what I grew up being told and what many other young women like myself have also been told. Elaine’s quest for love and willingness to do whatever it takes to get it is very reminiscent of the lengths some women do go through. Elaine is quite obsessed with being a male fantasy. She alters herself to fit the men she attracts. She uses wigs, makeup, and fashion to adapt herself to each man’s ideal image of her. She then uses “love magic” to capture them once and for all. She also in involved with a sort of sex cult that taught her her “love magic”. The cult of course is led by some ugly sleazy dude who of course wants to sleep with the women in the cult but that is besides the point. Elaine’s coven or cult or whatever isn’t brought up all to much but its an interesting feature.
Elaine’s wants in this movie are clear but her actions often contradict what she says she wants. She wants a man to love her and when they do so she flees. There’s always something wrong with the love she’s receiving. Its almost always too much love. This men grow fanatical and go absolute bonkers over her. One of the men she entrances falls into a deep depression after his encounter. He’s so distraught that he goes off and commits suicide. It seems as though those she encounters are left wronged by her “love magic”. She almost always is left unhappy even when she does get the attention and the love she craved. When she is finally rejected by the man of her dreams, she cannot stand it. Elaine reverts to aggression at the mere idea that someone could not love her.
Aside from the plot, the actual production quality of this film is incredible. Its well thought out. Its executed with a keen attention to detail. I was SO convinced with was a period piece through and through nut little things would break the immersion. THings like cars and cellphones. That being said, I do like that she breaks that immersion from time to time. Its physically and metaphorically breaks the illusion that Elaine is set on creating for those around her.
This movie was beautifully done. The actors, and the filmmakers did so much hard work and it really does pay off. This movie has a fantastic look, a solid script, and a great message. I have to say this movie gets a 10/10! Its such a fun movie and its a great watch alone or with friends! It’s one of those horror movies I’m hoping gets recognition soon. Its a true classic. Stay spooky pals and use love magic on unsuspecting men!!!