Is that a little mean? Roald Dahl was very mean in his stories and judging by this trailer, it doesn’t seem as if this new version of The Witches will be as horrifying as his book, or Nicolas Roeg’s 1990 movie, starring the incredible Angelica Huston as the Grand High Witch.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this looks great fun but not frightening – Anne Hathaway is having a (crystal) ball hamming it up as the Grand High Witch though, apparently modelling herself on Marilyn Monroe and Helga from ‘Allo ‘Allo.
On the other hand, the trailer is a tiny snapshot of the film – and with the story now set in 1960s Alabama, with Luke and his granny played by Black actors Jahzir Kadeem Bruno and Octavia Spencer, it’ll be interesting to see how the setting affects the story – it may be that it’s a more insidious kind of evil that the film is tackling.
I’m not averse to remakes at all by the way, or telling a well-loved story differently – I just don’t know if the witches are going to be scary enough. Kids are bloodthirsty little gits, after all.
The cast is top notch (Hathaway and Spencer are joined by Stanley Tucci, and Chris Rock as the narrator). The screenplay is by Robert Zemeckis & Kenya Barris, and Guillermo del Toro. So yes I’m hoping I’m wrong!
Here’s the synopsis:
Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis.
As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.
If you’re in the US you don’t have long to wait to see if the trailer is representative of the whole film – it’s released on HBO Max on 22 October. There’s no UK release date yet but it is coming out in cinemas.