SXSW 2021 Review: WITCH HUNT

By Jan Hamilton

Director/Screenwriter: Elle Callahan, Producers: Eric B. Fleischman, Maurice Fadida
In a modern America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal, a sheltered teenager must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico. Cast List: Gideon Adlon, Elizabeth Mitchell, Abigail Cowen, Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti, Christian Camargo (World Premiere)

Our first scene is modern day New England. A woman is being burned with her daughters forced to watch. Three months later we are in California. Teen Claire in in class and other girls are passing a note about a red-head, calling her “witch bitch”. The students are each writing a paper on the amendments to the constitution. The eleventh amendment already out laws witchcraft. Proposition six, which is pending in the state, will force the lock-up of red-heads.

At home, it appears that Claire’s family is harboring a witch. The regular driver Jacob arrives to transport her to the next safe location. En route they are stopped and killed by police. Claire wants her mother (played by Elizabeth Mitchell) to stop risking all their lives aiding witches. Two new witches are delivered by a different driver. They are the daughters of the New England witch, Shae and Fiona. Claire’s house is old and has narrow spaces behind walls where the visitors can hide, there also seems to be a sinister presence
in those spaces.

I enjoyed this film, it was very well done, with an outstanding cast and good writing and direction. It was a nice mix of reality andfantasy, and could be taken as a parallel tale to undocumented workers.

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