The Last Witch Hunter is a new take on the witch hunting film genre that takes the plot into the 21st century. It is based on the premise that witches are still alive and are living among us. A clever idea that does not quite work in this version produced by Vin Diesel (along with Bernie Goldmann and Mark Canton) who also stars in the film.
It tells the story of Kaulder, an immortal who has hunted witches for centuries. He has managed to kill the all-powerful Queen witch. However, in her final moments, the Queen curses Kaulder with her own immortality, forever separating him from his family in the afterlife.
We shift to the present and Kaulder is the only one of his kind remaining. He has spent centuries hunting down witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. He is helped in his quest by a wise priest called the 36th Dolan and later by the 37th Dolan.
Unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Queen witch is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer in a final battle that will determine the survival of the human race.
Diesel delivers an earnest and intense performance however this is not enough to save this film. It seems to have taken ideas from every horror/fantasy film in the last 10 years and put them all into one movie. Overloaded with CGI, the film seems to skip from plot to plot.
Michael Caine and Elijah Wood try to make the best of this confusion but there is not enough screen time in the film for their talent to shine.
Thankfully the cinematographer avoided the usual blue/black palette so common in films of this genre (for the most part). Instead there is a warm, almost autumn tone for most of the movie that makes it easier to watch and demonstrates the relationship between witches and nature.
This could have been a clever new take on witch films. Unfortunately it was a case of far too much in one package.
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 5
The Last Witch Hunter will be available through Digital on Demand from 27 January 2016 and on Blu-ray & DVD from 3 February 2016.