Audiences have become accustomed to reboots and remakes — a studio’s attempt to improve on some cinematic aspect or re-tell the story for a more modern audience. Roald Dahl’s The Witches, published in 1983, is an iconic children’s book about a coven of witches living in the United Kingdom. The story focuses on a grandmother and a child who have been targeted by the child-hating coven, which turns children into mice.
The Witches is coming out on Oct. 22, 2020 on the new HBO Max streaming platform. The film stars Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch and Octavia Spencer as the child’s grandmother; the child is played by Jahzir Bruno and is voiced over by Chris Rock.
Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) directs the “re-imagination” of Roald Dahl’s classic, with the help of Guillermo Del Toro and Kenya Barris on the screenplay. In the trailer itself, it has a darker color palette, giving a more gothic vibe but still has fun pops of color — definitely a stylistic trait that is loyal to Guillermo Del Toro. Anne Hathaway nails the voice of the Grand High Witch, sounding exactly as I imagined when I read the book as a little girl. I’m still scared of the Grand High Witch. When she talks about turning children into rats, it sends chills down my spine; my eight-year-old self still thinks the Grand High Witch is going to get me.
The diverse coven of witches meet and plot at the hotel, shown in both pictures. Witches, according to Dahl, have pointy noses and have to wear wigs because they have no hair. They speak with an accent (“Vat vould you do if zere were rats…?”), and want to turn children into mice. There’s not much else you can tell from the trailer; however, the trailer is still enough to get people excited.
I think audiences can look forward to the film, as Guillermo Del Toro brings really good ideas to table — spooky and stylized, something Jim Henson Productions brought to the 1990 version of The Witches starring Anjelica Hudson. Where Jim Henson was already known for Sesame Street and The Dark Crystal, Guillermo Del Toro is known for Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape Of Water. Del Toro really knows how to bring the spooky factor; in my opinion, The Witches would not have the chance to shine, as the trailer anticipates, without Del Toro.
Featured Image: Courtesy of IMDb