The Witches (1990) Poster

(1990)

User Reviews

Review this title
100 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Satisfying and mischievous adaptation of Roald Dahl's childrens' classic..
barnabyrudge20 May 2003
The Witches is the rarest thing you'll ever see: a black comedy for children. Adults just assume that kids don't have the level of wit and sophistication to appreciate sly and sarcastic humour, but here that theory is challenged with a vengeance and this film proves itself to be a wickedly entertaining, knowingly cruel pantomime.

The story finds a young boy named Luke moving in with his Grandma following the death of his parents. She lives in Norway and is something of a witch expert. Pretty soon, she has filled his mind with tales of witchery and caution. Grandma falls seriously ill and is advised to go to the English seaside to recover, accompanied by Luke. Whilst there, Luke uncovers the fact that the RSPCC meeting in the hotel is actually a front for a society of witches. He is captured by them and metamorphosised into a mouse, but still comes up with a plot to wipe them out.

This film is enormous fun, punctuated by offbeat performances (Huston as the Grand High Witch of All the World is terrifying and funny in equal measure) and splendid puppet work. The story uses the moral that children should "never talk to strangers", but enhances it with the ingenious and disturbing premise of witches being responsible for evil acts towards children. The story has real pace and purpose, and constantly turns up another surprise or twist just when you think you've figured out what's coming next. The supporting performances are very nicely judged (Atkinson as the snooty hotel manager, Zetterlig as the wise grandmother, etc.). All in all, this is a must-see kids' flick for kids and adults of all ages.
55 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
i've always thought this was a great movie
ryanmcirish10 March 2005
i've always thought this was a great movie since i was little, it was one of those movies that you'd go over to see at your grandma's on Halloween, just scary enough for a kid, where the'd be afraid, but not usually enough to give nightmares(although i can remember having a few from this- those with very small children be warned!) i felt that the tales that the grandmother spins are the tantalizing part of the movie, with them being treated as a joke in the beginning, but then going on to, not only back them up, but to show that they actually happened. i feel that this was a very well put together movie, and Anjelica Huston as the grand high witch gives the movie a special flavor, like she was meant to play the role. If i talk much more i'll end up giving the thing away, so i'll leave you with this- it's a wonderful movie for kids, and, for hose adults who haven't seen it, when watching, keep in mind that this is a children's movie:) enjoy!!
52 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One my favorite childhood ... and present.. movies!
parkguy50517 July 2004
This is a movie which is highly underrated. It is a fantastic adventure about a young boy and his wise grandma who go on vacation along the English coast. Unknowlingly running into Grandma's most feared enemy- the Grand High Witch. When Luke accidentally crosses paths with the Grand High Witch and her Witch minions, it is up to him, Bruno Jenkins, and Grandma to save all the children of England!

Anjelica Huston does a marvelous job at portraying the snobbishly aristocratic Eva Ernst as well as her unmasked counterpart, the evil Grand High Witch. She definitely steals the show in this one, although Mai Zetterling does give one that warm nurturing feeling as the wise but kind grandma. And Jasen Fisher did a good job as well.

Not only is the acting good, but the special effects.. or should i see puppets and makeup.. are marvelous! The grand high witch without her face mask is really a terrible sight! And the little mice, really puppets opposed to the technological computer created special effects, really work out great and give a more earthy feel non animated animal movies.

If your an adult and your looking for a nail biting psychological thriller your looking in a very wrong direction. But if you are looking for a classic, fun, adventure for all ages- I suggest you watch this. I give it an A+!!!!!!!!
37 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
On a par with the rest of Dahl's movies (Willy Wonka , Matilda , James and the Giant Peach)
timefreezer712 December 2003
Yet another book by the famous storyteller Roald Dahl has been transferred to the silver screen. To be honest I have not read the book but I can assure you that the film consists of all the sinister irony, the creepiness and an amusing touch of morbidity which dominates all the fairy tales this fellow has printed on paper. The Witches is a rather forgotten little gem with a biting script, an engaging direction and entertaining performances from the entire cast. Roald Dahl (and consequently the writer and the director) made his own version of witchcraft. He used scary images and frightening themes not to insult the occult fans but simply to poke fun at some cliched lore and legends. As a result the film suffered from a severe identity crisis and failed to reach a target audience: a bit too dark for kids and the adults easily misjudged it as a run-of-the-mill childish corny movie. No wonder the film is to date an unknown fantasy flick. However for the lucky viewers it is a fondly remembered satire with a cult status.

Luke (Jasen Fisher) is a little boy whose parents take him on vacation to visit his grandmother Helga (Mai Zetterling). Helga has Norwegian origin and knows many things about witches, evil creatures which manage to lure small children only to kill them later. Apparently Helga has encountered a witch in her childhood. Luke seems to enjoy his grandmother's stories. When Luke's parents are killed in a car accident Helga takes the orphaned child under her custody and does her best to fill the void. When Luke is attacked by a strange woman who most probably was a witch, Helga realizes that her grandson has suffered enough already and needs a break. The two of them take a getaway trip to a luxurious British hotel by the seashore. During their residence in the hotel, a convention is being conducted by a group of women calling themselves "The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children." Their leader is Miss Ernst (Anjelica Huston), an aristocratic lady whose gothic and sharp characteristics seem to vaguely ring some bells in Helga's memory. Luke accidentally attends the convention only to find out it is actually a coven of the hideous witches his granny has described to the last detail. The witches hide their ugly real faces under masks. Miss Ernst is of course the notorious Grand High Witch, the most repelling, terrifying, powerful and infernal of them all. The Grand High Witch is fed up with her underlings and decides that enough time has been wasted: therefore she forms a master plan according to which they will eliminate easily all the children in the country. It is now up to Luke and Helga to save the United Kingdom from this massacre.

The imagery used by the director is effective and plays a crucial part for the atmosphere of the movie. Congratulations to the SFX and make up crew for their awesome depiction of the bare skulled sorcerers. Yeah, yeah it is quite scary for kids but whatever. Dahl never cared for stereotypes and neither should we. The whole concept is a multileveled parody: firstly the childish phobias of mean witches are depicted pleasantly. Secondly, the underlying metaphor the film tries to pull off at how cruel these social workers and charity people can be, instead of preventing the cruelty, is funny. There are also many other humorous scenes (obviously wanting to counter balance the scary ones) like when Bruno, an overweight spoiled rich bulimic boy who was transformed into a mouse by the witches, says compliantly to his freaked parents "Don't take it so hard mom! You did after all want me to lose weight, didn't you?" Speaking of the mouse, I would also like to make a reference to the professional puppeteering and dubbing SFX by Jim Henson which are very successful. Generally the effects for this movie are well crafted and not at all dated. The director also did a good job in setting the creepy scenes or the action sequences (like the finale).

The casting was also inspired. I liked seeing Fisher in the central role, not necessarily because he gives a standout performance but because we finally get a real character and not a piece of cardboard. Luke doesn't apply to any of the stereotypes we see in cinema generally. He is not the cute and painfully sappy sweet little boy, or the nerdy goof and he is definitely NOT the do-it-all superhero who destroys everything in his wind-blowing path (a la Dennis the Menace or Home Alone). Mai Zetterling (who is also the narrator) gives a warm performance as the wise grandmother and also the most dramatic one of the entire film. She provides therefore the human element of tragedy in the movie. Anjelica Huston arguably steals the show in a challenging role. She is exceptional being threatening and spooky (not necessarily in her real grotesque appearance but with her ice cold stare). The kid who plays Bruno adds much comic relief in an obviously preachy role about the sin of gluttony. Oh, there is also a cameo by a then obscure Rowan Atkinson who is sadly underused. For you obsessed Atkinson fans out there you may check him out in a verbal (albeit brief) character.

Enough said, I think. The Witches is a strange film which has a perfect (but misunderstood) balance between a dark fairy tale and a snicky adult satire. It is well worth watching for fantasy fans anywhere. I don't know if it is the best (or faithful) ADAPTATION of Dahl's novel, but I believe sincerely that it is the best MOVIE BASED on a Roald Dahl novel. Recommended? You betsa!!!!

THE WITCHES 8.5 / 10
52 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One my favorite childhood ... and present.. movies!
parkguy50518 July 2004
This is a movie which is highly underrated. It is a fantastic adventure about a young boy and his wise grandma who go on vacation along the English coast. Unknowlingly running into Grandma's most feared enemy- the Grand High Witch. When Luke accidentally crosses paths with the Grand High Witch and her Witch minions, it is up to him, Bruno Jenkins, and Grandma to save all the children of England!

Anjelica Huston does a marvelous job at portraying the snobbishly aristocratic Eva Ernst as well as her unmasked counterpart, the evil Grand High Witch. She definitely steals the show in this one, although Mai Zetterling does give one that warm nurturing feeling as the wise but kind grandma. And Jasen Fisher did a good job as well.

Not only is the acting good, but the special effects.. or should i see puppets and makeup.. are marvelous! The grand high witch without her face mask is really a terrible sight! And the little mice, really puppets opposed to the technological computer created special effects, really work out great and give a more earthy feel non animated animal movies.

If your an adult and your looking for a nail biting psychological thriller your looking in a very wrong direction. But if you are looking for a classic, fun, adventure for all ages- I suggest you watch this. I give it an A+!!!!!!!!
32 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
The Witches Convention
claudio_carvalho8 May 2017
The boy Luke (Jasen Fisher) is spending vacation in Norway at the house of his grandmother Helga Eveshim (Mai Zetterling) house with his parents. She tells stories of evil witches and how her best childhood friend was kidnapped by a witch. Out of the blue, Luke's parents have a car accident and die and Helga becomes Luke's guardian. They move to England and one day, a woman approaches and speaks to Luke, but he identifies that she is a witch. One day, Helga falls ill and her doctor tells that it is her diabetes. She decides to travel to a seaside hotel to recover from her diabetes. On the arrival, Luke befriends the fat boy Bruno Jenkins (Charlie Potter) and has problems with the manager Mr. Stringer (Rowan Atkinson) because of his pet white mice. Meanwhile a group of women from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children arrive for a convention with their leader Miss Eva Ernst (Anjelica Huston). But soon Luke learns that Eva is indeed the Grand High Witch and their convention is to distribute a magic potion to turn boys into mice in England. When the Grand High Witch sees Luke, she turns him into a mouse. What will the boy do?

"The Witches" is one of the most delightful movies from the 90's. This film has not aged and the timeless story is wonderful no matter the age of the viewer. That cast is perfect and Anjelica Huston is fantastic in the role of a powerful witch. The make-up and special effects are magnificent and still impressive twenty-seven years later. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Convenção das Bruxas" ("Witches Convention")
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Unjustly forgotten fantasy
preppy-329 April 2002
Very strange fantasy in which a young boy Luke (Jasen Fisher) and his friend Bruno (Charles Potter) get in trouble with some witches (led by Anjelicia Huston). Luke's Norwegian aunt (Mai Zetterling), a former witch, helps him battle the others.

When this came out in 1990 critics loved it, but audiences stayed away. Real witches attacked the film because it portrayed witches as evil, ugly and wanting to kill all children. They overreacted--it's just a FANTASY, not reality. Also it was way too strong (and strange) to attract a family audience...too scary for kids and adults assumed it was a kids movie. But it is a good fantasy for high schoolers and adults.

Nicholas Roegs' direction is off-putting (he directs it like it's high art), but the special effects are truly incredible (especially the mice) and there are wonderful performances by Zetterling and Huston (going WAY over the top in her acting).

It's a very strange movie--definitely a one of a kind. It's worth a look.
33 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Stunning
Inliten12 December 2002
The film adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic ``The Witches" is a breathtaking spectacle that will delight a variety of viewers. Anjelica Huston is simply outstanding as "The Grand High Witch." She is the perfect actress to portray the dark, albeit laughable, character.

Luke (Jasen Fisher) is a young boy living with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling). Mai is perfectly cast as the doting, adventuresome grandmother. Helga regales Luke with stories of witches, dangerous creatures who seek to harm children.

I particularly liked the lack of Americanization in this film, as opposed to a similar counterpart, the adaptation of ``Matilda." The film stays true to the book for the majority. Unfortunately, the happy ending, which was loathed by Roald Dahl himself, detracts from the seemingly perfect adaptation.

In any event, 'The Witches' is sure to be a hit among kids (and adults as well). Anyone who has enjoyed the book is sure to enjoy this film version.
22 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Children's Masterpiece! A good movie for all!
pikespeak27 June 2001
"The Witches" is funny, and a little scary for those who haven't seen it. Music, Effects, Acting, Editing, and overall production of the film is a plus.

Anjelica Huston is terrific and Jasen Fisher is pretty good as Luke.
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A Delightful Fantasy
krispykritter24 October 2004
This is the genuine article, a children's movie enjoyable by the whole family. It deals with the legends of evil witches by showing children that good overcomes evil. There is a good deal of slapstick and silliness that reminds older folks of the Hal Roach "Keystone Cops". However, the silliness never obscures the human message. This is also not a "Jackass" film with dangerous stunts for kids to try at home. For a change, love is portrayed as something true and valuable to be desired and pursued. The cast is excellent from top to bottom, with the best actors doing some of their sometimes most understated and often brightest over-the-top work. It has been a family favorite from coast to coast ever since it came out and our extended clan can't recommend it highly enough.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Great film.
natty-9414512 July 2018
Fantastic film from start to finish.

The story, the characters, the actors, all brilliant.

I loved it and still do. I recommend to kids and adults alike.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
the witches over view
richardbrown0422 December 2004
i think this is one of the best films i have ever seen i first got it when i was 8 and that was 10 years ago and to this very day i'm still laughing away like i have never seen it before, even the kids love it! i think Angelica Huston is the best character in the film i love her attitude towards all her follower witches she is one of my all time favourite actresses and would love to meet her i love all her films too! don't believe there is 1 bad thing i could say about that film highly recommended too all children and parents even the oldies, would make a great gift for all the family, they don't make them much better than this.
18 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Still disturbs me.
GiraffeDoor16 June 2019
I'm a bit sour grapes about Dahl but I would be lying if I said the book didn't terrify little me and the Movie more so.

This is that special brand of freaky, campy, in your face child horror that is just in-your-face enough to pass as a movie that's OK for kids but then haunts their nightmares for ever.

They were not going for subtle here, like the Evil Dead before them, they decided they would not do this in half measures. Uncompromising, unlovely forces of evil trick children to their doom and they could be anywhere. As it lays its ground work, audacious cinematography, nightmarish make up and stylish direction make this modern fairytale ooze off the screen.

It is somewhat less terrifying in its second half when it turns into more of a schlocky adventure but it's actually pretty refreshing. It remembers to through in some shocking images before the end.

Very satisfying piece of juvenile macabre done with verve and imagination. Perhaps the best adaption of its writers works.

Do not believe the PG rating! This picture freaked me out, man... if you watch this with your 8 year old they will insist on sleeping in your bed till they their first period. But hey, maybe you want that, I don't judge.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Clever adaption of Roald Dahl's best book
When I first heard of this movie, I was expecting something exactly like the book. But this wasn't a replica, this was an adaption. This was a very well made adaption, even though it didn't get really good reviews. I would consider this to be a highly underrated motion picture. Of course, it could have been made much better, but considering the cast picked, and the way they adapted the characters; that's why I say that it could have been better. Besides all of that, this is a really good film.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
This movie is not just a Halloween classic, but a CLASSIC in every way possible.
enemyzero25 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is not just a Halloween classic, but a CLASSIC in every way possible. This is one of only two movies i still own on VHS (the other is The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, but that doesn't really need to be explained does it?).

I have seen this movie more times than I can count, so many in fact that the original VHS cartridge became worn out, the tape was transferred into another cartridge, then years later retaped on to a new tape to hold off the film from degrading further. This year I think I am finally going to force my lazy ass to get it on DVD.

This movie is about an American kid who's parents die and he is sent to live with his granny in England. Soon the kid discovers that Angelica Huston apparently finds children stinky and wants to eliminate them all by buying up candy shops and selling goodies tainted (ha ha ha taint) with "Formula 86″ that turns kids into mice. Now maybe it's just me, but as I watch this film as an adult I always want to tell Angelica Huston that if she really wanted to wipe those kids out she should have laced the chocolate with Anthrax and kill them outright rather then turn them into mice. Hell if she doesn't want to kill them why not just lace the goodies with herpes? Any way, The kid a.k.a. Luke and his crazy old granny (who apparently knows a ton about witches) are hanging out in this hotel where the witches are having a convention about snuffing out kids when he discovers their plans. After witnessing his fatty boom batty friend Bruno turned into a mouse he tries to tell his grandmother, but is apprehended and turned into a mouse himself.

Now if it were me, I wouldn't be that upset. Think about it, you still have your human brain, you're just a mouse. You don't have to worry about money or bills or any of that stuff. On top of that it's the animal kingdom, if there is some fine mouse pussy that you want, you just mount up and go to town. No dating, no consequences, you're a mouse. Anyhow he gets his granny's help they defeat the witches, save his friend and go to America.

It is a kick ass flick.

http://heystupid.wordpress.com/category/stupid-movies/
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A film that scared the hell out of me as a kid
Greatwhitewhale210 May 2004
No doubt Roald Dahl is a great children's author but maybe perhaps children will feel less scared reading the book than seeing it on film!

The story of a boy and his grandmother, finding out that the hotel they are staying at has a witches convention which is planning to turn all the children in England into mice is very well done. Though the major concerns I have is 1. The head witch in her real form 2. The scene when people turn into mice (espically the English kid) WARNING THOSE SCENES SCARE CHILDREN CAUSE IT SCARED ME! So parents, just put your arm around your kid the whole time, just in case.

Performances are good, espically from Angelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson. Jasen Fisher is quite a cheesy lead to have, I reckon.

A good family movie with very scary scenes so I'll warn you there.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Enchanting and creepy.
chrisjgray20005 October 2002
Roald Dahl's novel of supernatural women who want to rid the world of children becomes a film which shows some pretty nice effects.

It stars Angelica Huston as the Grand High With who holds a meeting at a hotel, where at the same time a former witch hunter and her grandson, Luke, are staying. The Grand High With is then battled against by the two while Luke has been turned into a mouse.

It's a pretty gruesome film due to the fact that children will be watching. The film may prove a little too much for them but it's great, with good performances and some enchanting music at the start, the film gives the look of a real family movie. ****
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Childhood favourite
andrewbellerby1 July 2019
The whole film, cast, acting, superb. I mean it's 2019 now but I remember watching this as a kid & loving every moment of it. I could watch this over and over. And I have.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A film that is both good and original...
Pedanther21 May 1999
...but the bits that are good are not original, and the bits that are original are not that good.

With impressive special effects, evil witches, a brave hero, and all that this film has to offer, children will probably enjoy this film immensely or be scared out of their wits (or possibly both).

But only if they haven't read the book.

If you've read the book, this is my warning to you: They added the character to the film. A *good* witch who goes around undoing the evil doings of the other witches. If you liked the book's ending, *do not* watch this film.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
one of the better dahl adaptations
spooky_trix25 June 2001
What is very possibly the best Roald Dahl book of all time has been transformed into a rather good movie. For the most part the Dahl adaptations: James and The Giant Peach, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the film is called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) are rather good anyways on film although most of them lack the bitting (and often satirical) wit of Roald Dahl's books. The Witches really came through with Angelica Huston's character, the Grand High Witch. Her entire performance is so over the top and wonderful, it is almost as if Dahl had written her character's performance into the script. Anyways, that being said, there are some rather silly touches in the film that do not quite fit in. The first being that the ending is completely different, although i agree with another user in that the ending of the book would not adapt well to the screen and wouldn't appeal to Hollywood audiences. The other problems I have are minor, the character played by Jane Horrocks (of Absolutely Fabulous, Little Voice, and Chicken Run) wasn't in the story either, but her character is crucial to the ending so I'll let it slide. The other problem is that in the book Luke's parents die on the first page, on their way to his grandmother's house (did I mention that Luke has no name in the book?), in the film version his parents die after they get there, a minor point, but it isn't quite as empowering for the main character. And speaking of Luke...could the producers of this film found a more boring character? I understand that the book is rather introspective, most of the story is told through the characters retelling of the story, but in a movie format, it is difficult to sympathize with a character that barely says anything at all. Regardless of these slight problems I have with the transition from book to film, this movie is one of the best family movies ever made, right nearly as good as bedknobs and broomsticks, watcher in the woods, and labryinth. Better than it's more hollywoodized counterpart; hocus pocus. Please do your brain a favor though, read the book. The Witches is a wonderful, magical story filled with adventure and fun. One final note, to the user who condemned this film for advocating a stereotype, you are obviously not big into your wiccan history. The witches here are not wiccan witches, but demonic creatures from a different plane of existence. Think of them as the evil counterpart to your more familiar wiccan creatures: slyphs, gnomes, undies, salamanders, etc... A true wiccan would understand the difference, as would the thousands of people viewing this movie. I highly doubt your nose grows a full foot longer once you've removed your face, and I highly doubt any one else would think that too - This is the reason why wicca is called wicca nowadays and not Witchcraft, to separate the two practices - signed, an amateur wiccan theologist.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
The Witches
master_dark4dune21 June 2005
With Roald Dahl's tale of mythic women who wish to rid the world of children taken to film, it's only natural that fans may get upset. They need not be frightened too much, as with Roald Dahl's humour and dark cruelty towards children from adults used throughout the film, the film stands strong.

The start works really well with a beautiful piece of music looking over the rooftops of Luke's (the central character)grandmother's home town. Then it turns out that his grandmother is teaching him about witches, before becoming overwhelmed by the death of his parents. His grandmother decides to return to England at a hotel where a convention of evil witches is taking place.

Angelica Huston as the Grand High Witch is simply astounding, with her performance showing the character with all the imagination that is held within her.

Mai Zetterling is favourable as Luke's grandmother who attempts to bring down the witch's hideous crimes.

The film is enchanting, adorable, frightening and funny and it's a treat for children. Although it can be quiet terrifying for very young children.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A Children's Horror Classic...I Apparently Missed As A Child...
meddlecore30 October 2017
As far as children's horror's go...whereas, this isn't the scariest...it's one of the most alluring, in a fantasy sense.

It tells the story of a young boy, whose grandmother is a witch hunter. She tells him tall tales of witches...that don't turn out to be so tall after all.

For, when they head off on vacation...they stumble upon a witch's conference...featuring the grand witch and all.

He sneaks in to see what they are up to, only to discover that they are plotting to change all the children of England...into mice! And, he gets caught and changed into a mouse before he can escape.

Now, he and another boy (who was also turned into a mouse) who are on the lam. They must find his grandmother, so that they can foil the witches' dastardly plot...before it's too late! And they plan to do so...by giving the witches some of their own medicine.

This film is light-hearted fun, but I can see it being scary for a very young child.

It is most notable for it's incredible special effects- coming from the late great Jim Henson.

The witches themselves, are disgustingly cool...while the animatronic mice puppets are totally badass.

They shift between using the mice puppets and real mice, making the film even more fun to watch.

I don't remember ever seeing this as a kid...but it's on the same level as something like Labyrinth...just not as epic.

Kind of surprised I never even heard of it until now...because I'm a huge Roeg fan! Hopefully you didn't miss it like I did.

6.5 out of 10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Great Comedy For Kids
screenman19 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Roald Dahl may not have enjoyed the towering (financial) success of J K Rowling, but he knew how to spin a good yarn for kids.

'The Witches' screens an excellent blend of The Master's dark story and British slap-stick humour, the whole thing realised in a seaside hotel that might be run by Basil Fawlty.

These witches have gathered at the hotel to finalise plans for the extermination of nasty, smelly children (good luck to 'em, I say). Ably led by Angelica Housten - who camps it up so far over the top as Grand High Witch that you almost wish she could win - they are going to put her master-plan into execution, using a particularly powerful magic poison.

Our young hero, staying there with his invalid grandmother, accidentally discovers their plan, and being captured, is turned into a mouse.

The whole adventure becomes a race against time to stop them before it's too late.

Dahl has such a dark humour that - brought to screen - almost qualifies for an adult rating. Some of the scenes of - what are, in effect, child cruelty - are singularly out of step with modern political-correctness (now there's a real poison). And some of the scenes of metamorphosis, especially amongst the witches, are almost the stuff of nightmares. This is certainly not suitable for tots. Rowan Atkinson's groping of the hotel staff may also raise an eyebrow or two amongst more sensitive viewers.

The movie has extremes. At one level it is hilarious, at another it is extremely creepy, then at another it seems oddly realistic, with people engaging in fractious and believable arguments. The switch from one situation to another is sometimes a little uneven. Rowan Atkinson plays a strange role as hotel manager; at once the rubber-faced clown of 'Mr Bean', then later as suave as one of his 'Blackadder' incarnations. Then, at other times he is the lecherous groper of room-maids. Once again, it's a little uneven.

Dahl can be shocking. He is a phenomenon you really need to have grown up with. He doesn't baulk at belching and farting, or even torture and cannibalism. And most kids love his anarchic style of story-telling. Enid Blyton he ain't. Despite the wobbly continuity of this movie, it offers a worthy presentation of his work that will have most kids, grown-up or not, thoroughly entertained.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
I hate witches but l like the witches???
Min11113 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This film was made on the year I was born; ironically, Roald Dahl (one of my favourite writers) happened to die on that year too. The Witches was a brilliant film, and one of the best Roald Dahl films out there; in fact, most of his films were actually pretty good anyway. Personally, The Witches was my third favourite Roald Dahl film (the other two being Matilda and James and the Giant Peach), but The Witches is probably the most darkest of all the Roald Dahl films. The film was very scary to watch as a child. It's a wonderful film to watch for the Halloween season. The characters were really good: really liked Luke. The icing on the cake would have to be that Rowan Atkinson was part of this film. He added that "flavour" if you know what I mean – you first have to see it. The only regret was that a sequel wasn't made given how the ending planned out though it wasn't necessary. After watching this film, my fear for witches has increased further...A LOT...further...MWAHAHAHA!!!!!
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Better-than-average fantasy, but to whom is it intended to appeal?
moonspinner557 September 2005
Young boy and his wily grandmother (a surprisingly comfortable and energetic Mai Zetterling) vacation at a seaside resort and soon discover it is beset by child-hating witches. The almost-improbable screen-teaming of director Nicolas Roeg, writer Roald Dahl and effects wizard/puppeteer Jim Henson results in a predictably garish, uneven, occasionally off-putting venture which may actually intrigue grown-ups more so than kids. Some intense and amusing sequences stand out, as does Anjelica Huston's performance as the leader of the witches. Remarkable effects, a very interesting and colorful attempt, but hurt overall by too many chefs and a flabby final reel. **1/2 from ****
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed