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Roald Dahl's The Witches

✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Mexico, USA


Rated PG • 1h 46m

Director Robert Zemeckis

Starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Jahzir Bruno

Genre Family, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy, Horror

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The darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.


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Screen Rant by

The Witches is certainly bolstered by its performances and visuals (which is to be expected of a Zemeckis production), and while its speedy story will win over young audiences, it could've reached new heights had Zemeckis, del Toro, and Barris dared to add a bit more padding.

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Where is the Zemeckis who projected a cartoon-noir Christopher Lloyd into every child’s nightmares? The same director has thrown a softening, coddling filter over Dahl, preserving the shape of his source material while sanding down its edges.

Arizona Republic by Bill Goodykoontz

There is an element of sadness to this story that’s necessary to make it effective. Take that away and you’re left with a cute kids’ tale that doesn’t trust younger audiences to process the elements that can be difficult — and that make it better.

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Zemeckis has made some unsuccessful films over the last 20 years, but The Witches is the most frustrating of them all because it feels like it could’ve been made by somebody else. Anybody else.

The Film Stage by Jordan Raup

With a grand score by Alan Silvestri that kicks up at every possible turn and extravagantly over-the-top Hathaway performance, this update on The Witches is a family-friendly Halloween treat that still boasts Zemeckis’ brand of the bizarre and a clear-eyed vision that seems all the more rare in today’s Hollywood.

Empire by Nick de Semlyen

A supernatural, effects-laden yarn like this is right in Robert Zemeckis' wheelhouse. Which makes it a little disheartening that it’s merely good, rather than great. Dahl's story still sings, but like a potion missing eye of newt, this new take is slightly undercooked.

IGN by Rafael Motamayor

Zemeckis turns this beloved, dark story into a campy, weird, yet still fairly entertaining kid-friendly story of accepting oneself. The problem is that it pales in comparison to what came before.

Chicago Sun-Times by Richard Roeper

The special effects are first-rate and the performances are way over the top yet entertaining, but The Witches is far too disturbing for young children and not edgy enough to captivate adults.