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(Review originally written at 25 January 2006)

Basically "Witchfinder General" is a very watchable movie, especially of course if you like British horror movies from the '60's and '70's. It however was not as good as I expected and hoped it to be. The story falls short at times and the characters are too lacking to make the story really tense or interesting. Still the movie is filled with some great and memorable moments that are perhaps even shocking at times. It's a pretty confronting movie, especially considering that events as portrayed in this movie actually really occurred centuries back. The story and the sequences become quite gruesome at times.

What surprised me about the movie was how wonderfully paced it all was. The pace was high, almost action-movie like at times and it didn't really had any unnecessary sequences or plot-elements in it that slowed the movie down, like in many other 'old' horror movies was always the case. So thumbs up for director Michael Reeves and editor Howard Lanning for that.

A disappointing aspect of the movie was the way the characters were used in the movie. Vincent Price was a lovely actor who could always portray a strong believable villain, like he also did in this movie. His character however gets underused at times in the movie and they could had really let his character do some more interesting and villainous things in the movie. Ian Ogilvy is a great 'heroic' leading man but he isn't always prominent enough present in the movie which makes his character not really interesting enough to consider him 'the hero' of the movie. It really is the way the story handles the characters that prevent this movie from being an excellent, perhaps even brilliant movie. The story itself is pretty interesting but it makes some odd choices at times. It also never really becomes tense even though the movie still has some good confronting and very direct moments in it.

This was the last movie from young horror director talent Michael Reeves, who died of an accidental overdose. It really is a shame because when watching this movie you really have the feeling that it was made by a very talented director. I would have very much liked to see future horror movies of him and I'm sure of it that he would had really made some wonderful perhaps even classic horror movies in the late '60's and '70's, if had he lived longer.

No horror masterpiece but better than the average British '60's horror-flick also due to some good moments in the movie, which is certainly made with lots of profession and passion.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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