Halloween: Day 1

Penny Dreadful S1E1-3

Even bad literary mashups can be fun, and this is a good one. Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Josh Hartnett are looking for the vampire who abducted Mina Murray, when not crossing paths with Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Grey, or a curiously deferential pack of wolves.

The VVitch

Kind of a mess. The elements are there for a powerful, claustrophobic story about a family disintegrating under the pressures of patriarchal religious hysteria, but it never comes together. Some real standout performances, beautiful cinematography and costuming, and a nicely textured (if at times overly manipulative) score, but the film missteps by both playing up period stereotypes of witchcraft and using it as a metaphor for female empowerment, which doesn’t really work.

(I was tempted to call it incoherent, but “your choices for dealing with female sexuality are patriarchy and different patriarchy” is perfectly coherent, it just causes problems for the metaphor.)