You really need to watch Anna Biller’s The Love Witch. When I first saw this movie, I automatically imagined the main character to be a patron of Altar, a modern day woman, with an adorned dark style, stuck in the 70’s, finished with a mysteriously entrancing aura.
In the genre of horror/thriller film, The Love Witch tells the story of a beautiful young witch who is determined to find her perfect man. She creates potions and spells as a means to seduce the men around her. As her magic is too intense, it leaves her with a string of hapless victims, ultimately leading her to a brink of insanity and murder.
With airs of gothic Victorian romance, and a tribute to the technicolor thrillers of the 60’s and 70’s, this film claims to be a feminist film. Anna Biller, the director of this movie, states that the story tells the horror of being a woman in a terrible patriarchal society. It exemplifies the fear of female sexuality and power, and the strength women feel when owning their sexuality and allure. As a result, the monster in this film, if not patriarchy, is patriarchy’s Victor Frankenstein: a woman driven mad and murderous by constantly attempting to cater an impossible male desire.
In a light-hearted rendition of elements of the dark arts, there’s a repeated use of Tarot cards. The protagonist, Elaine, constantly pulls the Three of Swords card expressing painful separation, sorrow, heartbreak, and rejection. This is fitting for her dilemma and the ultimate demise of the men she tries to partner. She makes her living by selling her potions created with her own personal concoctions and practices countless trials of ritual spells, love spells, devotion exercises, etc.
All in all, I really loved this movie due to its take on feminism and its portrayal of witchcraft, but also its creation as a whole. Despite playing on the pastiche of 70’s B-movies, the film is full of beautiful shots: conversations in a tea room perfectly styled with different shades of pink, floral decorations, scrumptious tea sets, and luxurious velvety furniture. The main character's apartment is beautifully Gothic, set with tasteful Victorian furniture and styling, finished with accurate portrayals of Pagan beliefs, elements and deities. In addition, the acting somehow perfectly expresses the somewhat stiff, yet dramatic, reflections and mannerisms of leading actresses of a bygone era. The story line makes sense, draws you in, seduces you, yet horrifies you in the end.
If you’re into artistic movies with a strong cohesive aesthetic, feminist thriller vibes, and an esoteric centered storyline, definitely give The Love Witch a watch. It’s well worth it.