Weirdest. Feminist. Movie. Ever.
In “The Love Witch,” the bewitching central character, Elaine (Samantha Robinson), beguiles men to their doom with her vampish beauty and sexuality. One look from her heavily made-up eyes, presented in jolting close-ups to the accompaniment of zither-sounding “Zings!” is all it takes to put the whammy on her victims and turn them into mewling male mooncalves. Oh, that and hallucinatory potions she brews up and sneakily administers. And then they die, either by their own hands, or hers.
And they deserve it, Elaine declares repeatedly, because men by their very nature are commitmentphobic and only value women for their looks and their willingness to give guys sexual pleasure. “Please send me a beautiful sweet man to love me,” she implores. “Zing!” follows “Zing!” but no man measures up. Next thing you know, she’s wheeling a wheelbarrow with a failed candidate in it to an unmarked grave in the back 40.
Set in the present day and touted by filmmaker Anna Biller as a labor of love, “Love Witch” is a do-it-herself production. Biller not only directed, but wrote the script and the music and made the costumes and props, right down to a pentangle-adorned carpet on which, prostrate, she offers up her plea for a “sweet man.”
With their miniskirts, long flowing hair and glossy lipstick, the women look like people out of the Jean Shrimpton ’60s. With their ill-fitting suits and hair that looks slathered in Brylcreem, the men look like they came from the ’50s.
And a scene in which characters repair to a witch strip club to earnestly discuss feminist issues while in the background a stripper peels, shimmies and waggles tassels looks like it came from outer space.
The acting is beyond stilted, and as for the music: Its closing song, by Biller, “Love Is a Magical Thing,” is an ode to “rainbows,” “lucky charms” and, I swear, “unicorns.” And sure enough, here comes someone dressed in a unicorn costume.
Is “the Love Witch” a parody? It sure feels like it. But I’m not sure Biller intended it to be one.
The Love Witch
☆ 1/2 out of 5
Cast: Samantha Robinson, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Gian Keys.
Director: Anna Biller.
Running time: 2:00.
Rated: Not rated; nudity, sexual situations, violence, gore.