Review: 'Roald Dahl's The Witches' Brings a Little Magic

by Ken Tasho
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 22, 2020
Anne Hathaway in 'The Witches'
Anne Hathaway in 'The Witches'  

"A real witch has claws... and is bald and wears a wig," says actress Octavia Spencer ("The Help") in the latest version of "Roald Dahl's The Witches."

There are many scary witches in HBO Max's presentation of the reimagined story, a visual feast of a film that's both family-friendly and just spooky enough for those afraid of the dark. Initially to be released to movie theaters, 2020's "The Witches" follows the trend of streaming films to enjoy in one's home.

Spencer stars as Grandma, who's now in charge of her orphaned grandson (newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno). The year is 1967 in Alabama, and after her grandson thinks he spots a real-life witch, Grandma whisks them off to hole up in a plush hotel run by a family member. Stanley Tucci ("The Devil Wears Prada") is on hand as the hotel's curmudgeonly manager.

The International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children happens to be having a conference at the resort. This event coincides with the arrival of the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway). Along with her coven of dastardly witches, GHW has other "rodent-like" plans in store for the hotel's occupants.

Comedian Chris Rock narrates many sequences in "The Witches" from the point of view of the orphaned boy.

Robert Zemeckis, famed director of classic films such as "Back to the Future" and "Death Becomes Her," wrote the screenplay with Kenya Barris and award-winning director Guillermo del Toro ("The Shape of Water"). Zemeckis also directed and produced this witchy version.

Anne Hathaway chews the scenery for most of the film's 100-minute running time, giving a slightly more outrageous performance than when Anjelica Huston played the role in 1990. It'll only add to Hathaway's already impressive movie resume (the same can be said for Octavia Spencer).

"The Witches'" innovative special effects and heart-warming, modern approach will succeed in family circles this Halloween season.

"The Witches" is available for streaming on HBO Max starting on October 22nd.

Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things ’80’s and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with ’80’s rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.

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