Sometimes there’s no better cure for a bad mood or a bad day than a truly crazy and utterly hilarious movie. And the Spanish comedy flick Witching and Bitching, which has been making the festival circuit since September of last year certainly fits the bill. Now that it is available on Netflix Streaming, I hope that this film is discovered by a wider audience.
Witching and Bitching is about a group of guys on the run from the police after a daylight jewelry story robbery in Madrid. They head for the French border but run afoul of the women in a small town called Zugarramurdi, which is said to be full of witches. The inhabitants there have been known to perform Sabbath rituals. Even as the setting gets darker and the plot crazier, the tone of this wildly funny movie always stays the same. Nearly every scene will have the audience smiling if not laughing out loud.
The opening heist sequence sees our thieves pulling off a robbery in the middle of a busy town square. They are disguised as a very diverse group of street performers, including SpongeBob, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the Invisible Man, a green plastic Army soldier, and a silver Jesus. This sequence sets up both the film’s rapid-fire pace (it runs almost two hours long but you’ll hardly notice) and the equally rapid-fire dialogue. The jokes and one-liners almost come too fast for the audience to keep up with, especially when having to deal with the subtitles but the upside is that it forces the viewer to pay close attention.
All of the leads are brilliant, taking on the film’s eccentricities with ease. They are all adorably sympathetic, even though the movie lays it on a little thick about how all of their lives have been ruined by women. Of course this ties directly into the men winding up in a town populated by powerful, cannibalistic witches. But, even still, the added emphasis was not needed. The scene where the gentleman recount their emasculation stories seemed particularly out of place and not to mention, cumbersome to the plot line.
As for the female characters, all three generations of witches are unique and played to perfection. The standout performance in the film is Carolina Bang as the youngest witch Eva. But with her half-shaved head, form-fitting black motorcycle clothes, and piercing eyes, it’s hard not to notice her.
All the different settings used in the film serve as an additional character: The design of each location is nothing short of amazing. Most impressive is the massive estate the witches live in. Though dilapidated in some areas, the mansion is ornately decorated and proves to be ripe for exploration. Its long corridors and many secret passages keep the men quite busy. The movie’s final sequence takes place in a massive cave attached to the house by way of these passageways. The cave becomes the perfect set piece for a completely unexpected turn of events that is even more unexpected than the rest of the film.
The ending might be too light-hearted for some viewers but the epilogue makes up for that to some extent. Ultimately, Witching and Bitching is a surprisingly hilarious film. Its erratic storyline and non-stop action and comedy really make it a standout flick that horror fans are bound to love.
WICKED RATING: 7/10 [usr 7]
Title: Witching and Bitching
Director: Alex de la Iglesia
Writer(s): Jorge Guerricaechevarria, Alex de la Iglesia
Stars: Hugo Silva, Mario Casas, Carolina Bang
Studio/ Production Co: Enrique Cerezo Producciones, La Ferme! Productions, arte France Cinema
Length: 110 minutes