Witching and Bitching

Studio: IFC Midnight
Directed by Alex de la Iglesia

Jun 10, 2014 Web Exclusive
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The deliriously nutty Witching and Bitching opens with an insane, beautifully-shot robbery scene. A group of unemployed thugs led by single father Jose (Hugo Silva) hold up a pawn shop just off a high-traffic, public square in Madrid. They do so disguised as costumed tourist mascots; their posse includes a gold-painted Jesus, a green toy army man, Spongebob Squarepants, Minnie Mouse, and Jose’s ten-year-old son. The heist goes awry—the ensuing shootout is both thrilling and hilarious—but two of the robbers escape with a duffel bag full of pawned wedding bands, hijack a taxi, and go on the lam with the driver, the cab’s unruly occupant, and a little boy in tow. And, that’s where the movie starts to get really crazy.

Alex de la Iglesia’s Witching and Bitching lives up to the silliness of its title as the action shifts to Zugarramurdi, a rural, Spanish border town home to a coven of witches. The witches presume Jose’s son to be the boy child promised to them in a prophecy, and his adult companions to be the main course at their annual feast. 

The film packs as much supernatural weirdness as a whole season True Blood into less than two hours, but plays it all for laughs. Almost all of the inventive visual gags hit their mark—there are quite a few truly surprising, laugh-out-loud moments—and Alex de la Iglesia’s direction has more in common with Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead or The World’s End than any American comedy with its kinetic setpieces and fast-paced editing. Some unfortunate, abundant sexism—at the expense of the all-female coven, and the character’s ex-wife and girlfriends—is enough to sour the film somewhat, but push through that and this is a horror-comedy that’s too bizarre to miss.

www.ifcfilms.com/films/witching-and-bitching

Author rating: 6/10

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