While capturing the spirit of 80s and 90s supernatural sillies like My Best Friend Is A Vampire, My Demon Lover, Teen Witch, and My Boyfriend’s Back, Bad Witch goes a bit darker for the horror audience. I’d say they just don’t make them like this anymore, except they do thanks to co-directors Victor Fink and Joshua Land and writer James Hennigan, who also wrote and directed gay horror film Deviance and appears in both films.
Xander (Chris Kozlowski) is a sexy slacker who also happens to be a powerful witch with a bit of a vengeful streak. Although he tries to suppress the urge to cast spells, he falls off the wagon when his roommate (played by Hennigan) pressures him to get a job.
Xander begins working at a diner where he befriends a geeky teen waiter who is harassed regularly by school bullies. Taking the teen under his wing, Xander becomes My Bodyguard with a witch twist.
The pair bonds, Xander shows the teen how to use witchcraft, and before long, their powers get them into heaps of trouble.
This tightly crafted production is a reminder that the talent behind an indie film is equally if not more important than its budget. And for all the indie horror I watch (which is most of the films I watch), I rarely get to gush over the quality of the final product, so away we go!
For starters, the writing is smart and strong; the narrative knows what story it’s trying to tell, and every moment matters. The direction also keeps the film on track—the pacing and energy never falter and scenes flow smoothly and logically.
Both writing and directing are further enhanced by the performances. These aren’t amateur actors just making sure to get their lines right and hit their marks in a scene. The performances are nuanced right down to facial expressions, reactions, and interactions.
Lead actor Chris Kozlowski alone is so natural and charismatic on screen that it will be a travesty if he doesn’t become a star. He’s also pretty as hell, gets shirtless in the film (yay!), and bares quite a resemblance to Cary Elwes of Princess Bride and Saw fame.
Fun and funny with some unexpected twists, Bad Witch even manages to throw in a few nasty and icky parts, usually revolving around Xander’s power and how he uses it to make his enemies miserable. I don’t know how I even managed grabbing this screenshot.
It’s so refreshing to see a male-centric witch film (there are barely any females in the movie–hell, the guys even all seem to have fathers but no mothers) and writer James Hennigan has previously made a gay horror film, but don’t expect much in the way of gay storyline here. The relationship between witch and his apprentice seems to hint at sexual tension (don’t they always?) even though these guys are purely hetero. There’s another hint of gay desire that I was expecting to play a pivotal role in the plot later in the film, but in the end it’s merely glossed over.
As a consolation prize, there are so many guys in the cast there’s a lot to look at. For instance, if I were as powerful a witch as Xander, I’d make sure every guy I met had a bubble butt like this.