|'Lori Singer plays a feisty female presence with bright hair and brighter clothes, well before such characters became fashionable'|
The first question in the mind of anyone who wilfully approaches Warlock - a 1980s horror of the most bonkers sort, with 17th century Richard E. Grant chasing 17th century Julian Sands around 20th century Los Angeles - must surely be concerning how much fun it will be. With humour-ready time travel situations all too easy to come by and a director who went on to make the humour-filled Lake Placid this would appear to have all the ingredients of daft comedy-horror in the making.
What a shame then that Steve Miner's film, for the most part, takes itself far too seriously, eliminating laughs by over-crowding the narrative with hokum and wasting countless opportunities for out-of-his-century Warlock (Sands) or out-of-his-depth Redferne (Grant) to meet the twentieth century head on.
That isn't to say though, that Miner forgets fun altogether. Sands is allowed to have a riot, playing everything with a deadpan straightness and a clipped English accent that leaves you in no doubt just how evil the Hollywood production team want you to think he is. Grant, just two years on from his Withnail performance, is also on great form, committing to the task of erstwhile witch-finder admirably.
Rounding out what at times feels like a three-hander is Lori Singer, playing a feisty female presence with bright hair and brighter clothes well before such characters became fashionable. A first act encounter with Warlock leads to Singer developing into the most interesting facet of the film. The character is given real impetus and the audience are given real reason to follow her quest well above and beyond the fact that Redferne simply needs to save the World.
Unfortunately though, Miner wastes the 'hook' of Singer's side plot far too early, just, in fact, at the very moment when the tension inherent within it was beginning to build. Like a lot of Warlock - particularly the direction and the script - it feels half-cocked and the occasional fun diversion or well-executed piece of horror becomes the exception, rather than the rule.
Warlock is released on DVD in the UK for the first time on 18th April 2011.
'Good scares, great acting, and all around cheesy goodness that makes the film a treat to watch' - TheOtherView.com