Written and Directed by Elle Callahan comes a modern-day witch story that asks the question, “What would happen if witches were real, but being one was illegal?” That is where Witch Hunt comes in. Based in modern-day America, magic is real and witches are hunted down by the U.S. Authorities.
Witch Hunt focuses on Claire (Gideon Adlon) and her family. Claire’s mother, Martha, is part of an underground railroad-type system that helps witches escape across the border for asylum in Mexico. While her two brothers go along for the ride, Claire is caught between what she is taught by the news and the opinions of her friends vs what her mother feels is right.
Callahan hits close to home with the themes woven throughout the film. Witch Hunt feels similar to watching The Handmaid’s Tale where the story feels all too real and close to home given our own political climate here in the states when it comes to refugees, and our own broken immigration system. Along with the LGBTQ+ community where some believe just because you are born this way doesn’t mean you have to practice the “lifestyle”. However, even though it touches on these subjects it also can’t help but feel tone-deaf with her all-white cast. There are POC’s who are currently going through this as I type so having zero women of color as a witch in a story and just having white people white peopling feels behind the times.
Still Fun, But Expectations For Witch Hunt Should Be Tempered
While the story is interesting, there are a few giant plot holes that can’t be ignored. Claire has a very, “it doesn’t matter to me until it affects me” storyline, which is fine. But, if her mother has been hiding witches for some time, why does she bother keeping the secret if she feels it’s so wrong? Next, when did the persecution of witches start? Does Witch Hunt take place in an alternate timeline where witch persecution has always been the norm? Something monumental had to have happened.
Also, why redheads? Are gingers the only ones who are able to be witches? If that’s the case, then how does Claire’s reveal make any sense? Who are these ghost witches?! Do they have a name or are they just haunting this house Or since witches are all connected can they come to any witches’ aid at any time? If they can, why are witches harmed in the first place?
And lastly, if witches are so powerful that the United States Government fears them enough to murder all of them…how have they not taken over the country let alone the world? I’m not a person who is against treating their audience like they’re competent, but I shouldn’t have to write missing story points into a film in order for it to all make sense.
In the end, did I enjoy Witch Hunt? Sure. It was definitely an enjoyable watch.
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