TheGiantClaw’s review published on Letterboxd:
It Came from Beyond the Video Store! Day 2
Warlock is one of those cult horror films I think most people have heard of, but you don't hear a whole lot about. It's not like the film was a massive hit. It was distributed by Trimark Pictures, a company mainly known for its cult horror films like Leprechaun and The Dentist. The company only lasted fifteen years and Warlock (which grossed only $9 million on a $15 million budget) was their second highest grossing film. Obviously since then it's become a bit of a cult classic with the witchcraft crowd, and while I don't think it should be in the same conversation as some of the greatest the 80's had to offer, it certainly doesn't deserve to be forgotten. Because while Warlock isn't anything special, it is an enjoyable watch if you ever wanted to know what a road trip comedy would look like as a horror movie.
Warlock, while silly at times due to its dated special effects, does have some solid atmosphere and some great performances from Richard E. Grant and Julian Sands. It also has a great road trip vibe like Phantasm 2, which adds a bit of fun and a sense of adventure into the mix. It also manages to be one of the rare examples of how to do a fish-out-of-water story right. Rarely does it try to add comedy to a situation by having said fish learn our modern ways. In fact its the time traveler who ends up teaching the modern girl new things. It helps that the chemistry between Lisa Springer and Richard E. Grant works in my opinion. He's not too clueless and she's not too annoying. They work off of each other well and their knowledge of each other's times actually ends up aiding them along the way.
Now I'm not at all knowledgeable about the history of witchcraft, aside from what I've seen in movies, so I can't speak about the historical accuracy of Warlock. It felt like the writer was making up deus ex machinas left and right to further the story. Hammering nails into the warlock's footprints to stun him, salting a rope, a witch compass, I don't know how much of this is actually true about witches, but at times it felt like the movie kept coming up with new and ridiculous weaknesses for the warlock purely because there was no other way to move the plot along.
Aside from that Warlock is a lot better than what it could have been. It has its heart in the right place and I give props to Steve Miner and David Twohy for crafting an enjoyable 100 minutes. It'll certainly be interesting to see what the sequels hold in store for me.