In the crowded streets of Madrid, a gang of armed robbers disguised as street performers attempt to escape jail, after robbing a gold exchange pawn shop. With the help of a reluctant taxi driver, the bandits head to the safety of the borders; however, when night arrives, the only safe haven is deep in the woods of the secluded and notorious village of Zugarramurdi; a dark place known for some witch activity in the past. But, in a place crammed with witches of all sorts–and after numerous encounters with the bizarre, the unexpected and the occult–the clumsy thieves will have to learn fast the ways of the coven if they want to save themselves, and the rest of the world from the next witch apocalypse. But, are they up to the job?
User Reviews: A surprise winner at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival as a Midnight Madness selection, Witching and Bitching has been quietly playing the festival circuit before now landing on VOD with a high recommendation.
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia (The Oxford Murders, The Last Circus), Witching and Bitching is a Spanish film that tells the story of a gang of jewellery thieves who end up in a town home to a coven of witches while fleeing a lucrative heist.
The opening heist is very entertaining with the thieves dressed as street performers before the firepower is revealed and action ensues (seeing Spongebob Squarepants get riddled with bullets was a highlight). The smash-and-grab is aided by the gang leader’s son who will accompany the fleeing criminals as they try to escape the country by forcing a cab driver to abet their plans.
With the police and an ex-wife in quick pursuit, the gang lands in a town that could not be any worse than facing the police in a shoot-out. Three witches that reside in a lavish estate convince the men into their home and before you can say ‘hocus pocus’, they are tied up and tortured (some playfully, some violently) with the intention of being served as the main course for the countless witches that have been invited over for dinner.
Equal parts of comedy and chaos ensues leading up to an unexpected and highly enjoyable climax that includes a giant naked witch that towers over her human counterparts who exponentially aides the body count.
The sub-plots that help fuel the main story are every bit as interesting without impeding on the film’s focus. There are the two cops that are following the ex-wife of one of the thieves, the innocent cab rider that ends up being tortured time and time again and there is even an interesting budding love story between the main character and a young witch who is torn between her feelings for the human and her commitment to the coven.
The special effects department did a wonderful job on bringing everything to life and the script as penned by Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Álex de la Iglesia is incredibly enjoyable and maintains its consistency throughout the full 112-minute running time. Because the screen never gushes with blood many might not so easily classify Witching and Bitching as horror. But whether it is horror or just a really good thriller, either way – it is a very good film.