Yep, more reviews of “Witch Hunt”. I never get tired of reading those and the praises for Liz. She deserves all this and this movie
The performances are extremelly captivating.
Elizabeth Mitchell finds herself a role that matches her acting skills.
The cast is terrific.
Mitchell gives a fine performance as a sympathetic woman who must lead her family in living lies daily so as to not alert authorities.
This is a very good review:
Review: Witch Hunt
3 stars out of 5
In modern day America, witches are real and they are being hunted down by an organization that sees them as a threat to mankind. Close to the Mexican border, a single mother raises her twin sons and her teenage daughter, while providing shelter to runaway witches that are waiting for their ride to cross over to Mexico to safety. Claire is a normal teenager that needs to surpass her prejudicial values in order to protect her mother’s new refugees, two young witches that lost their mother to the purge. Soon enough, Claire begins to have strange nightmares, where a maleficent presence lurks inside the walls of the house, and makes her have visions of dead witches trying to connect with her. What does this mean? Claire must find out soon, before a ruthless hunter destroys her home and kills her friends.
Witch Hunt is quite a surprise, beautifully written and directed by Elle Callahan. It is a tale of horror blended with a coming of age story as well as it acts as a suspenseful thriller that deals with socially relevant issues. The performances are extremelly captivating, as young Gideon Adlon shines in her role as leading heroine, and Elizabeth Mitchell finds herself a role that matches her acting skills. Witch Hunt has some interesting artistic approaches, with Callahan’s camera closely playing with spot-on angles that create a synesthetic experience where the viewer is constantly on edge, while beautiful imagery makes for a creative contribution to the main character’s rise to womanhood. Although some of the characters needed some polishing and some depth to widen the worldbuilding, Witch Hunt manages to be a sweet and endearing attempt of showing that, in a patriarchal society, women are feared for their powers and strength. The film is able to embody many different messages in its metaphorical approach to female empowerment, and that works brilliantly to provide the audience with the right dosage of entertainment and social relevance.
There are a lot of interesting little details about these questions that Witch Hunt puts at the center of its primary goal. The symbolisms provide a sense that Callahan knows exactly how, when and where to arouse our curiosity, even if sometimes these symbolisms needed a more detailed explanation so that the audience would understand how witchcraft works in this modern world. Aided by the performances throughout its runtime, Witch Hunt should be able to become a franchise and explore its mythology even better in future installments. If not, the film will be faithful to its message, but will be seen as a frail worldbuilding creation. Callahan’s notorious ability of putting powerful women at the center of the narrative and showing that womanhood is still something a male dominated society fears, makes Witch Hunt a film not to miss in the near future, even if it softly explores its fantasy roots.
Blending so many genres inside one film may be a tricky job for anyone, and even if it’s far from perfect, Witch Hunt manages to capture the eye of the viewer with an intriguing narrative, socially relevant values, some creative imagery and camera angles that provide a highly enjoyable cinematic experience. The performances are also captivating and cast a spell on us as we are involved with these powerful women trying to survive the horrors of a broken and oppressive society. While it should have given its supporting characters more material to make them more appealing to the public, Callahan’s message is clear that there is no escape in being who you are, and that we should not suppress ourselves to feel included in a society that is still driven by fear of what it claims to be different from normalcy. Witch Hunt is able to absorb some classic Salem’s Lot plot and bring it to a modern day world, where the hunt serves as a launching pad for the realization of women power and the fight for justice and equality against oppressive male-dominated regimes.
It may lack some depth in exploring its fantasy-based structure and answering some important questions about how witchcraft manifests itself through different types of young witches and why the ghosts of former murdered witches appear in Claire’s nightmares, but ultimately Witch Hunt is a thrilling, extremelly enjoyable film that will leave you wanting a franchise to know more about its twisted yet magical world.
This is a very good review:
Joseph’s Review: Witch Hunt (SXSW Online 2021)
3,5 out of 5
Teen horror and social commentary make for a fine union in this feature about a deadly U.S. government clampdown on witchcraft and the women who practice it.
Witches are hunted down, given sink-or-float tests, and burned at the stake. The time is the present day, and the place is the United States ofAmerica. Writer/director Elle Callahan’s Witch Hunt takes this premise and creates a riveting film that combines teen horror movie elements with political commentary to strong effect.
Claire Goode (Gideon Adlon), her widowed mother Martha (Elizabeth Mitchell), and her twin brothers Corey and George (Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti), live on a somewhat rural property in a Southern California border town. Much to Claire’s chagrin, Martha gives temporary refuge to fugitive witches to help them escape to Mexico, where witches are granted asylum, and to evade the Bureau of Witch Investigation (BWI), a government entity that seeks to capture and punish witches, usually by death.
Witchcraft can be a result of family biology in the film, and two of the witches are sisters who witnessed their mother being burned at the stake. Teenager Fiona (Abigail Cowen), who is right around Claire’s age, and her younger sister Shae (Echo Campbell) come to stay at the Goode house, but the person who is supposed to pick them up for the next phase of their trip across the border never shows up. Claire slowly goes from being perturbed by the sisters’ presence to bonding with Fiona, leading toward BWI Detective Hawthorne (Christian Camargo) — a sort of modern-day Matthew Hopkins — becoming increasingly suspicious of the Goodes and what they may be hiding.
Callahan shines a light on racism and other prejudices, along with the patriarchy, in a screenplay that includes intriguing ideas and solid dialogue. Witch Hunt attempts to tackle a lot for one film, and mostly succeeds. A few plot points border on being heavy handed but never quite cross the line. The updating of centuries-old witchcraft punishments to the present day and the acceptance of such are both done well, and the suspicion of neighbors and schoolmates parallel bigotry that is seen all too often in today’s headlines.
The cast is terrific. Much of the focus is on Claire and her mindset toward witches, caught between the generosity of her mother that endangers the family and the prejudices of her friends. Adlon does a fine job portraying the frustration and confusion of her character. Mitchell gives a fine performance as a sympathetic woman who must lead her family in living lies daily so as to not alert authorities. Cowen and Campbell give good turns, too, with the former having fine chemistry with Adlon. Camargo plays the main evil protagonist nicely, using a chilling iciness to inhabit his character.
Callahan has crafted a highly watchable horror feature that mixes the topical with thrilling premises. Witch Hunt is certain to leave viewers with a good deal to chew on regarding its messages.
Witch Hunt screened as part of SXSW Online 2021, which ran from March 16–20, 2021.
SXSW 2021: “Witch Hunt”
It would be nice to have magical powers and use them for the greater good – what could be better than that? However, not every magic is good; some are dark and vicious. Regardless of being good or bad, under the new law in modern America, you can’t have either.
The scene is set in America, presumably between 2020 and 2021. Witchcraft is prohibited and if someone is found practising it, they may lose their life. A new wall is being built to stop the immigration of the witches into America, as per the law. Claire, along with her mother and twin brothers, provide shelter to two sisters who try to cross the Southern border. But it’s not that simple as Claire must be careful due to her fight with her own demons she must find a way to defeat if she doesn’t want to succumb to it.
The film opens in New England, where Fiona and her little sister helplessly watch as their mother is burnt to death for practising witchcraft. Then, we are taken to three months later, to Southern California, where the 11th Amendment states, “No Person May Practice Witchcraft in the United States of America.” That’s why Claire’s mother does her best to help the witches, or the surviving children, to avoid prosecution and possible death sentence by helping them cross the border. But the mission gets complicated when the Witch Hunter gets involved who will stop at nothing to eliminate them one by one.
The cast led by Elizabeth Mitchell and accompanied by Gideon Adlon, Abigail Cowen, Cameron & Nicholas Crovetti and Christian Camargo, “Witch Hunt” takes the concept of illegal immigrants or those who seek refuge and turns them into witches. Even the wall proposed by Trump is used in the film as something supposed to protect from the sea of witches. Written and directed by Ellen Callahan, the film wisely uses the heart-aching concern of immigrants and intolerance of Americans towards outsiders. However, it also showcases how some people do the right thing behind the public eye, fighting against the witch hunt to help the minority to survive, strangely, in the land of free, which is ironic, to say the least.
This is not all positive, but it seems they contradict themselves. I take the best part of it.
Directed by Elle Callahan, Witch Hunt is set in an alternate America where witches exist and are considered criminals. The film focuses on teenager Claire (The Craft: Legacy‘s Gideon Adlon), whose mother Martha (Elizabeth Mitchell) hides rogue witches before they are transported to Mexico, where they will receive asylum. However, Claire is forced to confront her own demons upon meeting two young witches, sisters Shae (Echo Campbell) and Fiona (Abigail Cowen).
In her second directorial feature, Callahan effectively instils fear in the narrative and the direction. Incorporating witchcraft into a modern narrative enables the filmmaker to reinforce strong social messages within her screenplay and chilling direction. From the outset, women who are suspected of being witches are prosecuted, prejudiced and ultimately hunted down by law enforcement. There is even a legislature lingering in the background that, if passed, would restrict the rights of the descendants of witches. In other words, they wouldn’t even be able to have a driver’s licence.
It is this prejudicial stance that begins to prey on the sheltered Claire, who is played by the enigmatic Adlon. Due to her mother’s involvement with witches, she cannot confide in her friends out of fear of prosecution but also suffers from tension exacerbated by Fiona and Shae’s continued presence in the house. Although she begins to bond with Fiona and become intrigued by witchcraft, she is haunted by a darker truth hinted at by the mysterious events around her home. Unfortunately, all of these slowly build to inconsistent horror elements that seem to revolve around jump scares and a somewhat predictable outcome. In fact, the sinister and quietly spoken federal officer Hawthorn (Christian Camargo) is more terrifying due to his unrelenting hatred of witches.
While its visual elements lay the foundation of a typical horror-fantasy film, Witch Hunt‘s strong social message will resonate and terrify audiences more than its supernatural premise.
It doesn’t say that the movie is perfect, but it’s good enough.
Persecution of witches is a theme long-explored in the horror genre, but whether the theme is used for a pro-feminine message or generic horror is up for the storyteller to decide, but with Witch Hunt Elle Callahan finds a nice balance between the two. In an alternate modern America in which witchcraft is outlawed and witches are hunted, a young teenager must come to grips with her personal demons and prejudices while her and her family aid witches in escaping to Mexico. While its story tends to be a bit familiar and hard to grasp in moments and it spoils its own ending halfway through the film, there’s something unique about its world building and characters that feels unique and compelling and its scares are mostly effective, adding up to a film that doesn’t quite capitalize on its full potential but offers a rewarding experience nonetheless.
‘Witch Hunt’ takes place in a modern America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal. A sheltered teenager, Clair (Gideon Adlon), is in a family that helps to shelter these witches and assist and crossing the border. Clair must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico, but may also unearth some truths about herself in the process.
This modern day witch story had me captivated from the start. An interesting premise that is executed in a unique and thought provoking story. The witches all appear to essentially be red headed, bleached eyebrows, and somewhat unsettling in their mannerisms. Clair is immediately turned off by them and hates that her mother (Elizabeth Mitchell) is aiding them. But once she interacts closer with one fo the witches being sheltered with her, she starts to notice she may have abilities herself.
This has a feeling similar to ‘Let The Right One In’, or even ‘Looper’ a young adult horror revolving around modern day vampires. While that story chose to stay in the shadows small in scope, ‘Witch Hunt’ does the opposite. I was surprised with how well crafted the story was and expansive the world seemed to be.
Let’s also talk about the villain, a Witch Hunter that lingers and terrifies anyone near him like a Nazi almost. Christian Camargo gives a very good performance here and is very unsettling. The film has a little to say also about how we treat the ‘other’ in society and does it in a way that doesn’t take away from the story.
Overall, ‘Witch Hunt’ is a thought-provoking horror that reimagines the Witch genre in new and interesting ways. Definitely go check it out when it is released!