Written and directed by Christine Diamantara, a young witch’s dream of making the best potion in her class takes her to the mysterious world of human males, in search of a powerful ingredient: ‘Big Dick Energy’. Starring: Madeleine Coghlan, Genevieve Kennedy, Nathan Kehn, Clayton Hoff, Keli Daniels, Brandon Black, Alexandre Chen, Fernanda Romero and Jaime Gallagher.
Jumping into this short film, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking it’s just a parody of fairy tales and princesses but actually what it cleverly does is use that world with a dark edge to create a parody of modern society. It’s not about taking a dig at cheesy love stories or Disney style content, the writing takes on a satirical perspective of being overly politically correct, drug use, sex and gender stereotypes; thankfully without feeling like it’s headed to the right. It retains the light tone of its fairy tale setting while filling the dialogue with darkness. It plays both sides of the coin and for the most part it works very well but there are a few elements that don’t quite gel. The ending in particular feels out of place, prior to that its message and sense of humour is quite clear but the ending presents one choice which doesn’t pay off and may leave you slightly offput or unsatisfied, unsure of what it’s trying to say.
Diamantara’s direction, however, is very much all on the same page, it has a wonderful colour to it, it’s energetic and holds a confident attitude. It blends the modern tone with the fairy tale, using sparing and well done effects, the way that it moves throws back to that classic princess content without losing a fresh feel. The editing work (by Lea Vrabelova) gives it a swiftly moving pace which matches the comedic styling well. It kicks things off on a superbly classic fairy tale note and has a wonderful narration over the top that helps to keep the balance between the perkier setting and its darker writing.
The film is full of great performances, led by Madeleine Coghlan as Donnie, she has that perfectly naïve persona that gets slowly broken down as she gets a taste of the real world. She brings an effervescent energy which only works even better when paired with the ‘bad girl’ style of Linda (Genevieve Kennedy), the two make a charming pair. The friendship between them has a sisterly feel, slightly competitive and occasionally backhanded but there’s a little care hidden underneath that. There’s then a whole ensemble of oddball characters that each keep the quirky, slightly twisted feel of the film going strong.
Witchin’ is funny, witty and stylish. The blend of styles works perfectly to create a satire of modern life using a light-hearted, contrasted setting. By choosing to go down the fairy tale route and have its lead character fit this stereotypical persona, it emphasises all of the comedy much more than if it were set in modern times. It’s on the cusp of something fantastic, and while it doesn’t quite get there, with a few of its later decisions feeling misguided, it shows a real talent along the way.