The Last Witch Hunter

By Ankit Verma

Mailed on November 03, 2015

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Dear Cory Goodman

Dear Cory,

With all due respect, from one writer to another I have to ask: Dude, what the hell?

Even though there are a trio of writers behind The Last Witch Hunter, I’m singling you out because it was your encounter with Vin Diesel, and your shared love for Dungeons & Dragons, that brought this abomination to life. 

Yes, abomination. 

When I was a child, the fantasy genre was my absolute favorite. I would spend hours creating stories, assigning characters and playing out my creation with assorted G.I. Joes, rubbing red Crayola on my toys if they ‘bled’.  I would play in the bathtub if an ocean setting were required—hell, I would even create TV shows, with episodes and seasons. I literally grew up with this genre. So when I heard Vin Diesel was going to be able to live in his nerd Valhalla, I was a tad jealous. But after viewing The Last Witch Hunter, I was just insulted by the dumbed down, clichéd mess. It’s not just bland, predictable and forced, it’s a haphazard Frankensteining of The Mummy Returns, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Halloweentown.

The Last Witch Hunter is the generation-spanning tale of Kaulder (sounds an awful lot like cauldron), an infamous witch hunter who was cursed with immortality 800 years ago by the evil witch queen. What follows is the tired, old dribble that accompanies all gothic fantasy films. 

Kaulder now operates out of modern-day New York as a bounty hunter of sorts, capturing evil witches and sentencing them to imprisonment—and what’s an imprisonment without a secret court of witch elders who handle the sentencing of magical criminals? It’s the obvious choice. 

I didn’t even need to watch the movie, let alone the trailer, to figure out that Kaulder would be draped in black and silver, and that most of the scenery would feature cold buildings made out of brick and iron. Furthermore, the reciting of spells had to be the most painstaking load of enunciated vowels strung along with an echoed whisper, ever. I’m thinking of parseltongue from Harry Potter—and I know you were too.

There is zero subtlety here. You have to remind us at every single turn that we are in the presence of witches: potions, magic stones, horned creatures, insect swarms—you pretty much Googled a list of everything related to witchery and crammed it in. 

When we are introduced to Chloe’s bar, we aren’t invited into a seemingly normal bar where witches and wizards can sit back, relax and have a pint like us regular folk. No, we’re invited into a secret world where, instead of alcohol, glowing potions are served, and instead of table lights, there are illuminated, wispy clouds circulating above patron’s heads.  

And somehow you had the gall to push it further. Kaulder actually says the word “magic” out loud when he witnesses a spell. Really, Cory? The man has been around for 800 years and is a witch hunter—why the fuck does he have to say “magic” when he sees it? We get it: The Last Witch Hunter is a movie about witches. 

The worst part is that I knew it would be bad—yet I still left disappointed. Fantasy fans should be treated to a better representation of the genre in 2015. The Last Witch Hunter was all sorts of toil and trouble.



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