‘Not your basic witches’
King Knight is a 2021 American pagan comedy film about the high priest of a witches coven who must attend a high school reunion.
Written and directed by Richard Bates Jr. (Tone-Deaf; Trash Fire; Suburban Gothic; Excision). Produced by Richard Bates Jr., Robert Higginbotham and Colin Tanner.
The movie stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Angela Sarafyan, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, Emily Chang, Nelson Franklin, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Shane Brady, Swati Kapila, Aubrey Plaza, AnnaLynne McCord, Alice Glass, Barbara Crampton and Ray Wise.
Matthew Gray Gubler is Thorn, the caring, sharing high priest of a modern-day coven of misfit witches in a small Californian community. When his wife Willow unearths a secret from Thorn’s past, their lives are thrown into turmoil.
The only solution: attend a high school reunion and perform the forbidden sword dance. But what will this journey of self-discovery mean for the future of Thorn’s acolytes?
“First, many of the jokes are obvious and bad. Second, and more importantly, the film can’t decide if it’s making fun of its subjects or the rest of the people reacting to them. The resulting internal discord means the film can’t settle into anything relatable—a shame.” Awesome Friday
” …the somewhat ragged plotting and often declamatory dialogue are features, not bugs, and add to the good-hearted, let’s-put-on-a-show spirit of the proceedings. This is a film full of profanity and scatological humor and deeply, deeply silly humor […] But this tale of oddball cultists and their weird obsessions warmed my heart.” Boston Hassle
“King Knight wrings quite a bit of comedy out of its flimsy premise, thanks to a director who’s done his research on Wicca and a talented ensemble. If you want to learn more about the ways of Wicca or you’re looking for a laugh, I would highly suggest giving this a watch whenever it’s available.” But Why Tho?
” …two films in one, the first a quasi mockumentary full of tender conversations on identity, escape and belief; the second a self-healing comedic quest. In my opinion, while the first of these would have made a sublime short movie, the second ultimately feels hollow and confused. The result is a bemusing mixed bag from Richard Bates Jr that will undoubtedly divide critics and audiences alike.” Cinerama Films Online
“I didn’t laugh one single time throughout the entirety of King Knight. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure I ever so much as cracked a faint smirk either. That’s not to say I couldn’t see, or even appreciate, how Bates and his cast satirize poseur paganism and hypocrite culture by likening New Age nonsense to any other form of popularly appropriated idolatry.” Culture Crypt
“Bates Jr. has gathered an incredibly talented group, each member deserving of praise, in an ensemble that will go down as one of the year’s best. And to top it off, you have Aubrey Plaza voicing a pine cone – what more could you ask for? King Knight has the energy of smoking a joint by the ocean. Everything is calm and cool, and as you take a puff, you tilt your head back, close your eyes, and let yourself feel that ocean breeze.” Daily Dead
“It’s genre-adjacent, with smatterings of occult imagery and indie insight, and ventures into hypnotic, hallucinatory territory without ever going fully off the rails. For all its diverse elements, however, it’s uncommonly endearing. For all the Pagan hijinks and desert trips– in more ways than one– there’s a sweet, inconspicuous heart under the surface.” Dread Central
” …King Knight is a fun little romp whose incisive whit may be lost amid the lack of spectacle and rampant silliness. The drama is entirely interpersonal, the stakes are extraordinarily low, and yet, thanks to the cast being all-in, the message comes through loud and clear in the end. To thine own self be true, dance like nobody is watching, and don’t be a dick.” Elements of Madness
” …King Knight is perfectly executed, complete with a cast that is game for anything thrown their way. Ray Wise and Barbara Crampton popping up in small roles pepper in some genre street cred. Ayahuasca hallucinations feature Aubrey Plaza voicing a talking pinecone, and trippy visuals including a short 2D-animated segment exude personality. The school reunion is the centerpiece of King Knight, and it is a silly delight.” Josh at the Movies
“Philosophical enough to be interesting, quirky enough to be intriguing, King Knight is – in the end – a fantastic and fantastical story about finding what makes you happy and being happy with who you are. In other Richard Bates Jr. knocked it out the park. Again. Oh, and Matthew Gray Gubler is […] one of America’s boldest, yet most underrated, actors working today.” Nerdly
“King Knight is a feel-good film about facing our past and moving forward with our own truth. It’s a film that can’t be defined by just one genre because it dips its toe in so many. It’s a fantastical story about self-discovery that features everything from a cameo by horror legend Barbara Crampton, pine cones and rocks, psychedelic imagery, and more. It’s a story that will take you on a personal journey and will hopefully leave you feeling upbeat and happy.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“The entertaining King Knight takes us down the path of one man’s self-discovery as he learns to reconcile his past with his present in order to accept his identity. This message is at the core, even if it sometimes gets lost amongst the ridiculousness and the reminder that everyone is full of sh*t.” One Room with a View
King Knight had its world premiere at the virtual Fantasia Film Festival on August 8, 2021.
The film had its UK premiere at the 2021 Arrow Video FrightFest in London on August 29th 2021.
In the US, XYZ Films released King Knight theatrically in select locations and On-Demand (VOD) on February 17th 2022.
1 hour 21 minutes