Review: WITCHING & BITCHING

Alex del la Iglesia's WITCHING & BITCHING

Alex del la Iglesia’s WITCHING & BITCHING

Alex de la Iglesia has always had a knack for combining elements that would not typically go together as well as they do for his films. 1995‘s THE DAY OF THE BEAST took the concept of three men TRYING to bring about the Antichrist, and turned it into a hybrid of horror and what was the darkest of comedies around. While 2010‘s THE LAST CIRCUS had more of a very serious tone to it, it was undeniably an Alex de la Iglesia film, having the imagination that he’s definitely known for and taking its viewer for one hell of a ride. With IFC Film’s WITCHING & BITCHING (aka- Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi and released on 10/14), de la Iglesia has once again created a film that is quite the wild experience, but is also one of the craziest hybrid films to grace the genre in a good while.

Providing viewers with one of the most unique and downright ODD opening heists ever, WITCHING & BITCHING does a perfect job of letting its audience know what kind of film it is right up front. Beginning with a group of street performers (with characters ranging from Spongebob Squarepants, Mickey Mouse, a toy soldier and Jesus Christ himself,..painted silver, obviously) all taking part in the robbery of a cash for gold business, the film provides one uppercut of a “wait..what?” moment, when the painted Christ involves his young son in the heist and when asked by the toy soldier why he’s involved his little boy in it, he responds with the fact that it’s his day to have his son and he isn’t going to sacrifice his time with his kid. Soon after, the business’s customers are telling him what awful parent he is, and it becomes a side-splitting comedy. When most of the group is detained and only Christ (whose name we soon find out is José), his son, and the toy soldier (Tony) are able to escape, the trio hijack a taxi driven by a man in relationship turmoil of his own. As the gang are trying to make a speedy escape and are involved in an insane gun battle with the cops, José receives a phone call from his ex-wife, giving him flack about making sure their son has done his homework, and various other things. Trying to hold a conversation with his nagging ex-wife AND taking part in a shootout, the film further lets your know that not only is this one hell of an odd comedy, but also a complete battle of the sexes…and that’s just the film’s opening sequence.

When the film heads into crossing genres, is when the gang escape and head into Zugarramurdi, the supposed birthplace for witches. With the police (and José’s ex-wife) hot on their trail, the gang tries to find somewhere to take refuge at. Little do they know, that where they end up is where a gathering of witches is set to happen and that José’s son is in their words, “the chosen one”. The film then jumps from fantastical, special effects-filled action sequences involving the gang trying to escape the witches (and José trying to escape the young and very attractive witch Eva, who has her sights set on him), and more pitch-black humor involving the awful predicaments they all find themselves in and how much the men thinking the woman are out to ruin their lives and vice versa.

Anybody who has been divorces and has children from that previous marriage will find  the film especially funny, because it’s such a DEAD-ON portrayal of both parties doing their best to villainize each other, just with a horror-comedy spin on it, making for a fun time for those who have been put through absolute hell from an ex. Even without that past, it’s an incredibly easy film to get on board with, the humor and writing is SO well done, and Hugo Silva as José, Carolina Bang as Eva and especially Macarena Gómez as José’s ex-wife, are all absolutely and incredibly hilarious.

While WITCHING & BITCHING isn’t a full-on horror affair, it’s such a funny film, filled completely to the brim with moments that hit you out of nowhere (the end showdown still makes me scratch my head, but in a good way) and will eventually go down as a cult-hit in the horror comedy subgenre.


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