A Witches’ Ball (2017)

At best I’d say that “A Witches’ Ball” is a serviceable movie. It’s exactly the kind of movie you’d find at Walmart one day that you’d probably buy for your daughter in hopes of distracting her with a fantasy while you’re preparing for dinner or something. It’s mediocre and hits about all the right beats for a movie heavily aimed toward small girls. Director Justin G. Dyck is a man whose entire filmography revolves around filming cheaply made, holiday oriented, family films and “A Witches’ Ball” s right up his alley.

“A Witches’ Ball” falls somewhere between “Sabrina” and “Harry Potter,” where we meet young Beatrix, an enthusiastic witch who just passed her midterms for her—let’s say witches class. Being given the title of valedictorian, she’s granted the sacred witches’ ball which she’s to present at her magic ball. After her jealous classmates cause her to drop and shatter the ball, she has to figure out how to re-assemble it before her big party. There is no villain in the movie, save for some petty class rivals. Beatrix basically has to conquer her own insecurities and find a way to get the ball assembled before the party. To bring the ball back she has to arbitrarily solve a series of riddles, and comes across some magical characters including an elf, and a mermaid.

The movie seems to work around whatever the budget can afford so fifty percent of the narrative is Beatrix using magic to fix her problem, while the other half is the heroine preparing for her party and engaging with her parents. The only effects heavy characters are her talking pet rat Muggs. He’s voiced by literally the only celebrity in the movie, Joey Fatone. There’s also a talking CGI jack o lantern. For all intents and purposes Morgan Neundorf is charming as heroine Beatrix, while I enjoyed Madeline Leon as Beatrix’s wise but hip aunt Ophelia. The last half of the movie is all about the party and Beatrix bonding with her parents, which I found pretty dull. “A Witches’ Ball” doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but as TV fodder, it gets the job done. And I think that’s what the aim was for the film, in the end.