As no-budget horror comedies about witchcraft go, “Bad Witch” isn’t half-bad.
The implication that it’s half-good is a hill worth dying on, so let’s see if I can make this case.
It’s about an aimless, slacker witch. Think of Xander, wryly played by Chris Kozlowski, as a Black Arts Bro. Just be sure you call him “witch.”
Oh, like a warlock! “No. A witch.”
So you’re like a wizard or something? “No. A WITCH.”
He’s bedded one willing but spoken-for woman too many and gotten punished by the torch, pitchfork and carve “WITCH” on your chest crowd. So he’s ready to give up dark magic. Time to crash on pal Henry’s (screenwriter James Hennigan) sofa, watch some TV. Maybe get a job.
“Got any experience?” “No.”
“Like working with people?” “Nope.”
Dishwasher it is, then. That’s how he meets bullied nerd Roland (Jackson Trent), gets mixed up in his love life and gets him interested in spells that will turn jocks (Jonathan Helwig) into walking zits and teen angels (Clare Lefebure) into nerd-fans.
The makeup effects include gross results of spells, and Xander’s own deterioration — fingernails falling out, etc. — which is what happens when witches “stop using.” Well done.
Xander’s flippant treatment of his special powers amuses, as does his refusal to realize his risky lifestyle “choice.”
“It’s not like I ever made the news,” he complains to Henry, his idea of “low profile.”
“This isn’t Salem,” he reminds one and all, before blowing the joke by over-explaining it. “Nobody’s gonna put us on trial for witchcraft.”
The acting in indie-film just-cute-enough, with Kozlowski bringing a fun swagger to Xander.
The one-liners could use some work, the plot and assorted scenes a bit of workshopping. “Slacker” here also refers to the story, which drifts along when it should bounce.
“Not half bad” sounds better than “half bad” But either way, it’s still better than most low-budget horror comedies.
MPA Rating: unrated, graphic violence
Cast: Chris Kozlowski, Jackson Trent, Clare Lefebure, Jonathan Helwig and James Hennigan
Credits: Directed by Victor Fink and Joshua Land, script by James Hennigan. A Mind in Motion release.