The Witches review: “Anne Hathaway aims for hammy, funny villainy, and has a whale of a time”


Did you have the pants scared off you as a kid by the fearful face-peeling fun of Nic Roeg’s 1990 adaptation of The Witches? If so, good news: Robert Zemeckis’ family-friendly crack at Roald Dahl’s dark fantasy is more heartwarmer than seat-wetter.

Flaunting his veteran storytelling skills and Forrest Gump-style retro-setting knack, Zemeckis transplants the story to small-town ’60s Alabama, where Octavia Spencer’s wise granny cheers up her suddenly orphaned grandson Boy (a nicely natural Jahzir Bruno) with big love, Motown music and a pet mouse. But the film blooms into full-on colourful, campy style when Granny whisks them to a posh seaside hotel to escape a prowling local witch.


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