*Sigh*. For the record, this was not something I purchased for myself. This is yet another gift that was bought for me by my friends because they will find it amusing for me to review it. Now this is one of those movies that most people have heard of but not as many will admit to seeing. I myself have seen it a couple of times over the years, usually during bouts of insomnia where I am up late at night with nothing to do but try and watch mindless television in the hopes that I will pass out. A while back, Teen Witch came up in conversation and once I saw the look in my friend’s eyes, I just knew that I was going to end up with a copy in my possession pretty soon. Sure enough, that happened so let’s get right into watching today’s movie.
The plot: Louise Miller is having a dream about her high school crush Brad when she is woken up by her brother Richie, who is eating the food he had hidden in her room. After getting ready for school, she heads outside to meet her friend Polly and they watch as rad picks up his girlfriend Randa, who is Louise’s neighbor across the street. When they get to school, Louise is late to her first period class and her teacher, Mr. Weaver, calls her out for her tardiness, then embarrasses her further by reading out an excerpt from her journal that had been stuck to the back of her assignment. Louise runs from the class and hides in the bathroom until Polly finds her and convinces her to come out but later that afternoon, Louise finds herself auditioning for the lead role in the school play, with Brad acting in the scene with her. Louise is excited to think she will get the part but is saddened to see it go to someone else while she is assigned as assistant costume mistress. Louise is riding her bike home that night when she is almost runover by Brad, who was distracted by Randa. Brad helps Louise get her bike up and offers her a ride home but Louise is embarrassed and tells him she is ok. Louise walks her bike home when she notices a strange mansion and knocks on the door, hoping to use the owner’s phone so she can call her parents for a ride. Entering the home, she is greeted by Madame Serena, the seer that owns the house, ans she invites Louise inside to have her palm read. Serena reads Louise’s palm and says that Louise is a witch, like herself, and says that she will get her powers on her 16th birthday party. On her 16th birthday, Louise is helping with the costumes for the play when the drama teacher finds an old necklace she doesn’t remember seeing before and gives it to Louise. As Louise is walking to another class with Polly, Randa stops her and says her cousin David is in town and asks if Louise would like to go to the harvest dance with them and Louise agrees. As the day of the dance arrives, Louise is upset by the outfit her mom got her but her dad cheers her up by showing her an old picture of her mother in junior high, revealing that she did not wear the most popular clothes back then. Louise is disappointed when she sees her date and decides to change her clothes once they get to the dance but he laughs at her. As Louise is sitting at a table and talking with Polly, they watch Brad dancing with Randa. Louise wishes that Brad would look at her and when he suddenly does, she wishes he would talk to her. Brad comes over and asks Louise if they can head outside to talk and Louise agrees, leaving an astonished Polly sitting there. Louise is nervous about talking to Brad but is disappointed to learn he wants to come to her house so she can help him with his English paper. Randa and David show up and Randa tells Brad to give David his car keys, as they are going to Kiki’s house for a party. As David is driving Kiki to the party, he keeps trying to grope Louise and when she says she wishes he would leave her alone, he suddenly disappears, leaving Louise to steer the car to avoid a wreck. Louise rushes to Madame Serena’s house to get her help only to find her shop closed so she heads back home. Inside, she finds Richie making a mess in the kitchen and as they trade insults at each other, Richie suddenly turns into a dog. Richie freaks out and Louise says that she will fix things and when their parents get home, she rushes Richie upstairs and throws him in a bath to hide, with Richie suddenly turning back to normal. The next day, Serena talks with Louise about what has happened to her when she notices the necklace Louise is wearing. Serena grabs an old book and shows Louise a picture of Louise in a previous lifetime from the 1600’s, also pointing out that Serena herself has been alive for centuries. She tells Louise that the necklace belongs to her and had been searching for her, like it had for centuries. When Serena shows Louise how to cast a spell to make money, Louise gets freaked out and goes to leave but Serena tells her she knows what she is going through in high school and tells her that with her help, Louise cna change how people treat her. Louise thanks her and takes a book that Serena gives her to practice her magic, heading to a closed amusement park to practice some of the spells, then continues to read them that night in bed. The next day at school, Louise tries a truth spell on Randa and her friends, keeping what she is doing a secret from Polly, and they both watch as the girls reveal what they really think about each other. Louise goes to tell Serena what happened at school and then asks her if she could get Brad to love her. Serena gives her some powder and tells her what to do but when Brad shows up for her study date with him, Louise is unable to complete the spell. The next day, Louise and Brad are talking when Mr. Weaver chastises them, then proceeds to embarrass Louise by commenting on all of the things that had fallen out of her purse when it fell over. Louise decides to get even by making a voodoo doll of Mr. Weaver and forcing him to undress in front of the class. When Louise gets home from school, Richie and her mom both handle the dog, resulting in Mr. Weaver falling down some stairs and later going through a car wash. Later, Louise and Polly are riding their bikes back from tennis practice when they spot Rhet and his friends rapping nearby. Polly has a crush on Rhet and wants to take a different route home but Louise subtly uses her powers to make Polly go up and rap back at Rhet, showing him up instead. Louise goes to see Serena, who asks her about Brad, and Louise admits that she couldn’t do it as she wanted Brad to like her for herself. Serena tells her that she should try to become popular instead. Louise takes Polly with her to a concert, where she is able to get them backstage, and the singer gives Louise her jacket. After performing the spell, Louise finds herself transformed and notices the difference when Brad and Randa tell her to ride to school with them and Louise accepts, leaving Polly to ride to school alone. As the days go by, Louise’s popularity continues to grow but as she revels in it, she continues to ignore Polly. Eventually, Louise ends up alone with Brad, who takes her out to a deserted farm house, where they begin kissing. Louise feels bad, as she doesn’t know if Brad likes her for herself or because of the spell. Meanwhile, Polly is feeling hurt that Louise has ignored her since she got her newfound popularity and when Kiki falls and breaks her leg during the play’s dress rehearsal, Louise is forced to fill in since she is her understudy and Polly accuses her of doing it on purpose. Louise tries talking with Polly the next day but Polly is still upset with her, calling her out for abandoning her since she became popular, and refuses to talk with her. As things get more crazy in her life, Brad asks Louise to the dance and she refuses, saying that none of this is real. Louise reads through the book to try and find a way to reverse her spell and when she doesn’t find anything, she goes to see Serena for help. Serena is reluctant to help her, as she was able to make her own life better as she was helping Louise but she finally tells Louise what she needs to do. The night of the dance, Louise shows up with Serena and as Louise stands on the dance floor, she tosses the necklace to Serena, who picks it up. Brad approaches Louise and the two start dancing and share a kiss, which Louise happily accepts as she knows he is doing it because he wants to.
Teen Witch did not fare well with the critics, currently holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many of the critics state that the movie is full of cheesy, 80’s teen fluff, but admit that that gives the movie a “so bad it’s good” quality to it. The creepy house Louise Miller walks into at the start of the movie, is the same house used by Michael Jackson in his 1982 music video “Thriller”. The movie was a box office dud, earning $27,843 off of a $2.5 million budget but would become something of a cult classic due to it’s regular airings on cable and on ABC Family’s 13 Nights Of Halloween.
Good grief. This movie is so ridiculously cheesy, and not in a good way (yeh, I said it.) That being said, this was an ok movie for the most part, even if it wasn’t exactly original. The acting was ok, with Robyn Lively and Zelda Rubenstein doing good jobs in their roles of Louise and Serena respectively. I also liked Mandy Ingber (Polly) but thought that Dan Gauthier (Brad) was kind of boring. The story was not that original, as it was essentially the stale story of the girl who was unnoticed or laughed at wanting to be popular and when she finally becomes what she thought she wanted, realizes she was happier as she was. The addition of magic to this movie didn’t really change the fact that the basic story was boring. The one thing that I did have to laugh at every time they were on screen was Rhet and his crew rapping during several of the scenes. I don’t know why but that just cracked me up. The drama in the movie was your typical teenage movie crap that honestly made me feel dumber for watching them. I understand why this became a cult classic but as far as bad movies go, this one isn’t for me.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5