A witch hunter (Richard. E. Grant) is chasing an evil warlock (Julian Sands) that got transported from the 17th century to 1980’s Los Angeles. With help from a young woman (Lori Singer) who’s received a hex from the warlock, they team up and rush against the clock to stop him from getting his hands on the pages of the Grand Grimoire (satanic bible) and in doing so he could undo all creation.
Director Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2 & 3, House) achieves probably his best film in “Warlock”. Some people might say his best is “Lake Placid”, but I couldn’t stand that annoying film myself. Anyhow, the fact is the plot of “Warlock” might be very formulaic and lack depth in the religious lingo, but he delivers a pleasurable supernatural chase thriller here. Involving some enterprising performances that go in hand-to-hand with the well-paced story, witty humour and energetic action scenes. All of these elements seem to gel perfectly for an incredibly fun ride that hardly has a dull moment to be had.
There are some nice effects are on show (warlock flying through the sky) and good makeup is provided. The violence is hardly graphic, but there’s some mild graphic scenes and implied violence too. Miner adds in some nice added touches with extremely solid direction that keeps a solid pace and well-orchestrated camera-work that captures the rather exquisite scenery when the film takes a detour in the countryside. Not particularly suspenseful or uneasy viewing, but well organised action set pieces, some horrific sequences and humorous moments (ingenious ending) makes up for it. There are some well-organised scenes of excitement and thrills, especially the sequences involving a farmhouse and a terrific climax in the eerie graveyard. It’s layered with a potent score by Jerry Goldsmith that builds on some rare tense scenes, but more on the rapid mood of the film.
What truly make the film standout are riveting performances even though they feel hammy. There is such an excellent blend of chemistry between the leads. With each of them throwing back and forth to each other smart and witty dialogue. Julian Sands central performance leaps out as a powerful warlock out to destroy mankind. He fit’s the role perfectly with this deviously venomous presence about him. Richard. E. Grant is charming as the very determined warlock hunter Giles Redferne. When these two characters meet, the confrontations between them always spices up the film. Lori Singer is enjoyable as the unknowingly Kassandra who adds to the humour and zest of the film.
The film might be nothing out of the ordinary, but you can’t deny the upbeat tempo of a thrilling adventure that leads you on a whirlwind trip from Los Angeles to Boston.