In the USA has THE WITCH NEXT DOOR under the title “The Wretched” surprisingly made it to the top of the cinema charts – especially in the absence of competition due to the corona. But the horror film about a child-eating witch is otherwise quite passable. We reveal why in our review.
What’s behind the door?
The original title of the film is “The Wretched,” which translates to “The Wretched.” The title chosen for the USA market defines the evil that already appears in the prologue much more clearly: It’s about the threat of a witch; and this finally does 100 percent justice to its horror film definition, with either exaggerated, grotesque (“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”), melancholic (“Gretel & Hänsel”) or emphatically cultivated (“Suspiria”) variations. In the opening scene we get to know her as a child-eating monster, so that we perceive her constant threat as such even when she settles into the bodies of beautiful women as a kind of shape-shifter. Especially in the unfortunately hysterical finale, in which cameraman Conor Murphy (“Mickey and the Bear”) swapping his calm, clear work for wild flailing, the witch finds its climax in her old-fashioned, nasty genre depiction. Without modern villain gimmicks, but with an engaging presence and a frightening appearance with which she takes on the main character Ben.
“Especially in the unfortunately hysterical finale, in which cameraman Conor Murphy exchanges his calm, clear work for wild flailing, the witch finds its climax in her old-fashioned, nasty genre portrayal.”
To date, newcomer John-Paul Howard has served (“Hell or High Water”) as a charismatic identification figure, even if the script for “The Witch Next Door” doesn’t particularly challenge him. Nevertheless, he attracts sympathy to his side. Not least because the script doesn’t give him any sophisticated lines of text, but it does give him very charming interpersonal moments with his friends and his father, which means we get to know his character much better than many other modern horror film protagonists.
Conclusion: The surprise hit from the USA: “The Witch Next Door” is a decent witch horror film that is strongest when it doesn’t rely on the unwritten rules of the genre.
“The Witch Next Door” can be seen in USA cinemas from August 13th.