The Witches (The Devil's Own) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Witches (The Devil's Own) Reviews

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February 4, 2014
Classic Hammer folk-horror albeit one with an ending routinely copied & adapted over the years. Some excellent moments built on paranoia & a feeling of isolation as a school teacher begins to think that life in a quaint English country village isn't all as it appears to be.
December 28, 2013
Nothing can eat your soul

An ambitious teacher in Africa is plagued by voodoo and mysterious activity. When she can't take it anymore, she leaves her school and heads for England. She tries to settle down into her new home and school in England only to discover the same voodoo behavior surrounds her. What is it about the teacher that leads to the voodoo activity?

"The verdict was misadventure."

Cyril Frankel, director of Operation Snafu, Never take Sweets from a Stranger, The Adventurer, The Executioner, and No Time for Tears, delivers The Witches. The storyline for this movie is actually above average for this genre. The main character is delivered perfectly and the cast delivers excellent performances and includes Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, and Leonard Rossiter.

"You fight for everyone but us."

I DVR'd this off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this past Halloween season. This isn't the best movie I have seen in this genre, but the main character is portrayed and delivered very well. I would recommend seeing this movie during the holiday season as it airs on cable.

"They've got the girl."

Grade: C+
October 28, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013

(1966) The Devil's Own
HORROR

Veteran actress Joan Fontaine as Mrs. Mayfield had just came from a bad ritual experience while living somewhere remote in Africa. She's then offered a teaching assignment on another remote town somewhere in England. And during her duration suspects some foul play which has something to do with Satanism.

Adapted from the book written by Norah Lofts, this variation at first seems very routine except that viewers don't quite know who's involved nor understand why until near the end. My only complaint is that it's not as inventive as other "Hammer" movies but it's probably the result of many satanic movies that came after it making this effort to be not as surprising. It's still intriguing nonetheless with the ravishing Joan Fontaine starring in an usual role.

2.5 out of 4 stars
October 14, 2013
A small english country down is riddled with witchcraft, and a school teacher aims to break the cycle. Interesting little film, but its not true to life....or is it?
May 25, 2013
Seven Arts & Hammer Team Up Again To Produce Yet Another Star-Vehicle. This Time The Star Is Oscar-Winner Joan Fontaine (Who Owned The Screen Rights To The Book). The Witches Was Based On The Book, "The Devil's Own" By Peter Curtis.

The Result Is A Decent Old School-Thriller, Based In The 60's, Which Features A Decent Script, Editing & Performances. Without Ruining The Film All I Can Say Is That It Features A Series Of Depictions Of Sinister Undercurrents In A Pastoral Setting.

The BBFC, Didn't Find The Events Sinister Enough To Give Their Usual Rating Of "X" So Decided To Rate It "A", Hammer Was Disappointed & Managed To Convince The Board To Give It An "X" Rating But This Accomplished Film Still Failed To Find An Audience.
May 4, 2013
wrong on so many levels but entertaining. joan Fontaine is very commited and incidently hilarious
½ April 21, 2013
A conventional tale about witchcraft.
½ February 7, 2013
Hammer rides again, this time with this adaption of the novel The Devil's Own by Norah Lofts, with the screenplay by Nigel Kneale (Quatermass and the Pit (1967)) and directed by Cyril Frankel (Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960)), this is a very effective shocker which manages to be engrossing and unsettling, the only major niggle is that it's played ABSOLUTELY STRAIGHT, when it should have had fun with it's subject. Schoolteacher Gwen Mayfield (Joan Fontaine) has returned to England, after suffering a nervous breakdown out in Africa, which working as a teacher for a missionary. She'd been exposed to witchcraft and voodoo out there, but back in England, she's offered by Alan Bax (Alec McCowen) and his sister Stephanie (Kay Walsh) to become the headteacher of a small private school they own in the English countryside. But no soon than Gwen has become headmistress, than strange things start happening, and she discovers darkness and corruption occuring in the life of this sleepy village, and the trauma of her events in Africa come back to haunt her. It's a good shocker, but it's too serious, and it nearly slips into dullness, but there's a scare or two which lifts it from it's dour mood. But, Fontaine is very good as the troubled teacher, who just wants a new start, and it does have a good cast.
October 17, 2012
Bears the hammer mark of quality--A mild brew, but worth the effort!!
October 9, 2012
This was Joan Fontaine's last ever major role and it's surprising that she didn't continue making films after this because she gives an assured performance. I have read that she wasn't too enamoured with the conditions at Hammer's studios but there are also contradicting reports that she wanted greater creative control of the production and that any problems she had with the conditions and co-actors were more out of frustration than anything else. Either way this is a solid thriller that loses its way in the final act, which is rather silly and the ending is very abrupt , however what comes before is interesting enough for this to not be a major problem overall. On balance this is probably no more than a 3 star film, with a more satisfying finale it probably would have been more.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2012
After watching a few disappointing additions to the Hammer canon it's nice to see a film that pretty much works and if not an all out horror per se it's still a good little suspense film. The acting is very good here across the board (although McCowen looks a little unsure sometimes) and the film boasts a very good cast for a Hammer film with Walsh and Rossiter especially good. However the film works mostly due to Fontaine's performance. As in 'Rebecca' and 'Suspicion' Fontaine brings a nervous energy to the role that works really well and if the finale is a little bit of an anti-climax it's certainly not down to her good work. The film is an odd one amongst a lot of Hammer films as there is no gore and what supernatural activity there is is suggestive. In fact I found myself thinking that this would make a good companion to 'The Wicker Man' whilst watching. It's not in the same league as that film but it's worth checking out if you're looking for the best of Hammer in the 60's.
½ February 13, 2012
Fails on nearly every level. Some part was just absolutely ridiculous with corny overacting and uninteresting script. Joan Fontaine was the only upside to this film.
February 4, 2012
Joan Fontaine ruins all the fun for a coven of witches. A truly creepy coven at that. Cross eyes and big boofy hair dos and so much sneaking about. Probably the best satanic ceremony ever filmed by the British. Real far out modern dance stuff. Even spotted some Jazz hands and lead with your shoulder leaps once the poop was thrown. Ok. Maybe that was an overstatement. But there was a pudding like substance that everyone was smearing about. Plus, I have a question. Why is it when the witches finally meet up they are all in rags and filthy dirty - you know like with dirt smudges all over them? Still, I liked this one pretty well. For a movie in which almost NOTHING happens, that is.
November 6, 2011
It all started out so well, but, sadly, this is not one of Hammer's finer efforts.
April 3, 2011
A really weird movie. Joan Fontaine is miscast and is phony and quite annoying in the lead. The film just kinda ends ...
½ November 23, 2010
This film is a great precursor to "The Wicker Man" and excellent script from Nigel Knelae (Quatermass) ensures that the division between natural and supernatural are nicely blurred. It all feels very real although the end ceremony takes a turn for the unintentionally funny and the ending feels rushed. highly recommended for fans of british horror :)
½ October 16, 2010
Ordinary Hammer Horror production with the usual set of mysterious characters with a bloody means to an end.
August 7, 2010
Not one of Hammer's best films, but still an enjoyable depiction of secret witch cults. As one reviewer notes below, The Wiches has a lot in common with Robin Hardy's horror masterpiece The Wicker Man: the town that is obviously hiding something, the hints at paganism and witchcraft, the outsider trying to uncover the truth behind mysterious deaths, etc. And The Witches manages to slowly build a creepy atmosphere without ever revealing who is good and bad or what is exactly going on. It's climax is perhaps a bit cheesy, but still fun and creepy in its way. If you want the real experience, see the Wicker Man, but if you are an ardent lover of Hammer then you will most likely not be disappointed.
June 21, 2010
Weak Hammer-movie. Totally lost between thriller, drama and horror.
½ February 6, 2010
Not one of Hammer's best films, but still an enjoyable depiction of secret witch cults. As one reviewer notes below, The Wiches has a lot in common with Robin Hardy's horror masterpiece The Wicker Man: the town that is obviously hiding something, the hints at paganism and witchcraft, the outsider trying to uncover the truth behind mysterious deaths, etc. And The Witches manages to slowly build a creepy atmosphere without ever revealing who is good and bad or what is exactly going on. It's climax is perhaps a bit cheesy, but still fun and creepy in its way. If you want the real experience, see the Wicker Man, but if you are an ardent lover of Hammer then you will most likely not be disappointed.
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