‘Burn that witch’
Witch Hunt is a 2021 American horror film set in an alternate America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal. A sheltered teenager must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico.
Written and directed by Elle Callahan, the Defiant Studios-Kodiak Pictures production stars Elizabeth Mitchell (The Purge: Election Year), Abigail Cowen, Gideon Adlon (The Craft: Legacy; Blockers).
“While the smaller moments shine and build up solid character growth, many of the scenes around it lack a particular punch that would make it unforgettable. There is a heaviness to certain scenes, but they’re rushed through so quickly that whatever rage we could get from them – and thus commit even more to the journey of the protagonists – feel muted.” Arrow in the Head
“Although everyone does what they’re supposed to both in front of and behind the camera, Witch Hunt, unfortunately, doesn’t hit the heart or the head as hard as it has to in order to resonate the way it wants […] There’s just an overall sense of an x-factor’s absence, and things ring hollow as a result.” Culture Crypt
“While Witch Hunt may come over as a kind of YA version of The Handmaid’s Tale (with its largely female cast and totalitarian regime) it’s a solidly told plea for tolerance with some impressive central performances. The metaphors may at times be laid on a little thickly – BWI indeed – and there’s a few loose ends which suggest some pruning for film length, but overall the film sustains a quiet power and the nods to ancient practices of witch finding…” Dark Eyes of London
“Witch Hunt is a rich dramatic coming of age horror tale that becomes a tad more chilling the longer you sit with it. It’s not that an alternate Earth wherein a fear of magic comes to define the government and social interactions of a country isn’t a staggering thought, it’s the degree to how close it is that reality is to our own.” Elements of Madness
“If it had the follow-through from its early brilliance, this could’ve been a radical entry into the subgenre, and while ultimately falling a little short, it’s still one of the most memorable and creative entries into witching cinema in quite some time. Witch Hunt slips into a more formulaic rhythm after a barnstorming setup, but tackles unsubtle social ills with appropriate sledgehammer force.” Flickering Myth
“The visual effects aren’t always convincing, and as an allegory for real-world themes, Witch Hunt can sometimes feel a bit clumsy and on-the-nose, but Callahan always manages to right the ship and keep us invested in the narrative. The film also benefits greatly from the earnestness of its cast, particularly Mitchell and Camargo.” The Lamplight Review
“Thanks to a commendable cast that helps keep the fantasy grounded in feasibility with their tenderly powerful performances and Elle Callahan’s fierce filmmaking both behind the camera and through her skillful screenwriting, Witch Hunt is a win for genre fans who savor smarts along with their scares.” Loud and Clear
“It is hard to poke holes in such a tightly packed narrative, however, I will confess that it is a fairly predictable storyline, with viewers very likely to telegraph the inevitable finale before it occurs. Even though M.I.A may have got there a long time ago, Witch Hunt also offers an effective metaphor of racism, this time through one of the best modes of political storytelling – the horror movie.” The Movie Waffler
” …Callahan makes the most with what she has by leaning on the rural landscape and the performances of her cast. Adlon, who has already dabbled in witchcraft as part of The Craft: Legacy, handles like a seasoned vet Claire’s struggle to find herself in a world of many biases. While Witch Hunt is more traditional than its initial premise would suggest, it’s a welcome reimagining of witches…” Punch Drunk Critics
“Witch Hunt sets up an interesting, eerily plausible world, but struggles to take it anywhere new. Rather than defying gravity, it gets dragged down, caught up in itself; bogged down in-between the real and the fantasy.” Starburst
“Witch Hunt is a disappointing film because the concept of bringing the Salem Witch Trials to modern America is rife with potential […] For those who can forgive the blind spots, it’s an interesting enough premise. For those who can’t though, Witch Hunt ends up an average film undermined by its inability to see and answer the questions it raises.” Tilt
“It is a good film and it does get its point across. But for some reason, it never really manages to be better than that. Giving the film’s horror element a bit more edge probably would have helped. So would at least clarifying if this is an alternate reality version of America or some kind of post-revolution one.” Voices from the Balcony
In the USA, Momentum Pictures is releasing Witch Hunt theatrically, on Digital and On-Demand on October 1, 2021.
In the UK, Signature Entertainment released Witch Hunt on DVD and Digital on 5th July 2021.
Cast and characters:
Abigail Cowen … Fiona
Gideon Adlon … Claire
Lulu Antariksa … Jen
Cameron Crovetti … Corey
Ashley Bell … Gina
Assaf Cohen … Doctor Justice
Bella Shepard … Kelly
Anna Grace Barlow … Sofie
Treva Etienne … Jacob
Nicholas Crovetti … George
Jess Varley … Fate
Regi Davis … Mr Cullen
Taylor Ann Tracy … Veiled Witch