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Sunday, April 18, 2021

‘The Love Witch’: Scarlett Johansson is surprisingly compelling in the gory movie

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A look at “Peeping Tom” from “The Love Witch,” a gory thriller about a witch turned doppleganger killer.

Yvonne Strahovski is one of the few actress who can play perfectly femme fatale, play heroically damaged, and even play in both environments.

The twice Emmy nominee, who left television this year for a recurring role on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” plays Elvira, the ant-slaying, cat-playing, huge-breasted nymph of the Internet scene.

The one scene Elvira can’t pull off: the opening scene, where a woman (Carissa Moore) enters her room while her husband, played by Anthony Kelman, spies in the window. Elvira laughs over the phone as she hears Moore from her own balcony across the street. She is shocked and mortified.

It’s smartly played. The same scene was done with Cady Huffman as adulterer Evan in “Carrie” and with Meryl Streep as mysterious Amy Mitchell in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Even an opening sequence of what one could call “the footage theme” could have inspired by Sydney Pollack’s “Out of Sight” or Michael Cimino’s “The Sicilian.”

Directed by “The Love Witch” director Marti Noxon, who wrote the novel the film is based on, “Peeping Tom” is a revenge tale with very real stakes.

Elvira, who is beaten and bashed in the face with a lamp, gets things going after her husband abandons her at a young boy’s funeral.

She goes to the same pub frequented by the murdered girl, meets the same men, dates the same women, and tries to pull off one of the great Batman-Joker disguises ever invented.

There’s much blood and very little humor, but it’s intriguing and, if nothing else, engaging. (Would an Elvira film with Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne be as appealing?)

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