Midnight Madness wrapped up last Saturday with Alex de la Iglesia’s newest feature Witching & Bitching.
After a botched robbery of a Cash-for-Gold outlet, two bank robbers fleeing for France, come upon a town of witches.
This was a pretty enjoyable film. Iglesia’s work is a sizable gap in my repetoire, but from what I can gather, his work is not normally this overtly comedic. The comparison to From Dusk Till Dawn is apt, as it does follow a similar structure – swapping out a pack of vampires for a coven of witches – though the movie is unfortunately never as good as its tremendously fun first twenty minutes. It flailed in a lot of different directions in the middle, but thankfully always maintained its playful attitude, so as not to be detrimental. This chunk of the film reminded me of Juan Martinez Moreno’s Game of Werewolves, though I remember that one being a little more centered. Iglesia then brought it home with a really great set piece at the climax which rivalled that of the action fantasy of Guillermo del Toro in ambition and execution.
Witching & Bitching sounds like a throwaway title, but it actually described the subject matter quite well. The film features witches, yes, but it also features every character complaining about their lot on life. The battle of the sexes is the through line of the picture, which – as the Iglesia made us aware during his intro – was inspired by his divorce and subsequent lawyering. This was definitely apparent in the movie, but was, somewhat surprisingly, never presented in a malicious way. Iglesia’s priority here was to entertain, and for the most part, he succeeded.
As it turns out, it’s fortunate we even got to see this film, as Iglesia was plugging away in post right up until the last moments, with it arriving in Toronto just the day before. Like I said previously, I had no reference to Iglesia’s other work, but Witching & Bitching was a decent flick, falling somewhere in the top half of this year's Midnight line-up.
So, as the curtain closes on another TIFF, time now to regroup and get back to the regular routine…
*TIFF photo courtesy of Kurt Halfyard.
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