The Witch in the Window (2018) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2018]

A divorced father takes his son to a house he’s bought to renovate and reconnect. As they work on the house, something there is showing itself, adding a few layers of fear and oddity to what is already going on.

Writer/director Andy Mitton takes themes of connection, family, letting go, and even grief and mixes them with his own personal take on the haunted house tropes. As the viewer follows along, the film takes these tropes and makes them their own while also not fully committing to being a haunted house film. The film feels more like a psychological film than a straight up scary one.

The cast for Mitton’s film is highly talented and gives subtle, nuanced performances throughout the film. Playing the lead of Simon is actor Alex Draper who is the adult anchor to the film where he is the father buying the old house and wanting to connect with his son. His struggle is relatable as written and Draper makes it even more so. Playing his son is Charlie Tacker who gives a performance that is also subtle, with a bit more to it than often seen from kids on screen. He tackles emotions that are hard to take head on and does great work with them. This is something that the entire cast does well, they all give restrained, emotional performances without going overboard or over-acting at any point.

Showcasing these performances are the grey, gloomy, and sad images created by cinematographer Justin Kane who brings the weather into the feeling of the film and makes it work on an overall level visual and atmospherically.

The Witch in the Window is one of those “hit or miss” kind of movies that most reviewers seem to love and this reviewer found difficult to keep up with because it felt bland. That being said, it is a very well made film that will entice and connect very well with many fans of its genre but not with all of them. It’s not particularly divisive, it’s just not entertaining for all. It’s definitely worth a watch for how it approaches things and what it does with its central subject.

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