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Fantasia 2018 Review: “The Witch in the Window” (2018) ★★★


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Independent cinema is the only one that can explore concepts in films that big studios might avoid. The only difference is that small movies never get a chance to grow due to lack of enough funding which results in making the film look a bit weak and poor. Although that does not apply to Andy Mitton’s “The Witch in he Window”, but as you watch it you will realize the great potential this film had, and with enough attention how much better could it have been.

Its plot is very simple – Simon, who has a tense relationship with his ex, brings his twelve year old son, Finn, to rural Vermont to help flip an old farmhouse. As they navigate through their own idealic moments as father-and-son, the two notice something strange about the house and soon learn that strange feeling had a name – the spirit of Lydia, a previous owner of this house who gets stronger and more aggressive with every repair done in the house.

Here is the thing, before we even get to the point of learning about Lydia, Simon and Finn are do not share a typical father and son relationship. The way Finn talks to his father gives a glimpse of what their relationship is all about. But then, that changes gradually with the appearance of Lydia, the spirit who somehow manages to unify the two through the fear they have over the spirit’s appearance. And by the time when Lydia turns into a real power, Simon also becomes determined knowing that if the hole in his heart was unable to kill him, then the spirit would certainly fail at that as well. But again, we know how many people make mistakes based on assumptions, you know, it’s like gambling with something you don’t get until it happens.

“The Witch in the Window” written and directed by Andy Mitton has an interesting concept towards the end which makes it more twisted than ever. And that’s the best part of it, of course. Despite having such limited resources, the film somehow manages to keep its pace on an acceptable level, even though that level was almost like a basic one. For instance, there is no overwhelming emotion going on around, no tears or even laughter. But with even that you will never stay neutral and indeed, as a viewer, you will try to find a way to communicate with the characters through the silver screen, even though it may not look so big. But it’s still a worthwhile piece that deserves our attention the same way as if it was a big Hollywood horror movie with no visual effects and more character driven which, I must say, helps the viewer to stay focused throughout.

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