Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Witches (1990)

Stylish adaptation of the Roald Dahl children's book, directed with understated flourish by Nicolas Roeg, about a boy - turned into a mouse - and his grandmother (Mai Zetterling) who set out to destroy the witches of England while staying at a seaside resort. Some truly nightmarish imagery and makeup effects (courtesy of Jim Henson's Creature Shop) and the intelligent screenplay raise this above the level of the usual children's fare to become a film that adult viewers can appreciate and enjoy on its own terms.

The highlight is Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch, a tour-de-force performance that ranks among the most memorable screen villains. Jasen Fisher, a child actor who only appeared in a few films, is effective in his part, and the cast is ably supported by the likes of Rowan Atkinson as the bewildered hotel manager, Bill Paterson as the wealthy and entitled adult figure (always a target of satire in Dahl's stories), and Jim Carter in a comic turn as the hotel chef.

No comments: