The witches of Eastwick
- Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne
- Cher as Alexandra Medford
- Susan Sarandon as Jane Spofford
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Sukie Ridgemont
- Veronica Cartwright as Felicia Alden
Battles of the sexes comedies don’t come much darker and sexier than The Witches of Eastwick. Based on John Updike’s novel of the same name, directed by George Miller of Mad Max fame and featuring an absolutely hysterical performance by Jack Nicholson, Eastwick is a wickedly and darkly comic film that slightly goes overboard with the special effects in the later parts . Regardless of this minor quibble, the film is still a pleasure and joy to watch partly because of Jack Nicholson and the three main woman who dominate the story. The score composed by John Williams adds to the devilish and lively quality of the film.
The film revolves around three single best friends in the boring, uneventful and traditional New England town of Eastwick. Although different in terms of their personalities,each has the distinction of having a man leave them in some form or another. The dynamic trio of women comprises of strong-willed sculptress Alex, shy and matron like cellist and music teacher Jane and sexy writer for the local newspaper Sukie. To relieve their boredom and feelings of loneliness,they meet every Thursday night for drinks and food. The gatherings are spent discussing what they want in a man and wishing for one to arrive in town. Unbeknownst to the trio, they in fact possess powers that can make strange things happen. After one such gathering, the flamboyant and devilish Daryl Van Horne arrives and purchases a prominent old mansion on the outskirts of town. He immediately sends shock waves through the traditional eponymous town with his brazen, over the top and deliberately lecherous behaviour. Thinking they have conjured up the man of their dreams, the women all gradually fall under his seductive spell. After gossip spreads through the town,partly because of local busybody and eccentric Felicia and strange incidents occur, the women realize that Daryl may not be what he at first seems and that they have conjured up a literal devil.
As the witches of the title;Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer are luminous and convincing as the love-starved and bored best friends who accidentally dabble in magic and get their fingers burnt as a result. The trio have a natural chemistry with each other that helps the audience believe in the friendship they share. But the acting honours go to Jack Nicholson who throws himself into the part and makes the film hysterically funny. Whether he is frantically playing the violin in order to seduce the shy Jane or dressed in a velvet robe when trying to make a move on the self-assured Alex, Nicholson is a hoot throughout. Special mention should also go to Veronica Cartwright for her supporting performance as the local gossip and Cassandra like prophet of the town who foresees the danger and debauchery that Daryl will bring to Eastwick.
Despite the sometimes overload of effects, sometimes they work within certain scenes in the movie. The funny scene that takes place in Daryl’s manor,when the girls play tennis and discover the extent of their magical abilities by using telekinesis to move the ball in their favour is well filmed and hilarious. The scene where after the women have cooled their relationship with him, he starts to bring their deepest fears to life is quite unsettling, particularly if you have a deep-seated fear of snakes. Revenge comes when the women devise an equally unsettling plan. Equally horrifying is Daryl’s revenge on Felicia, in which he causes her to continuously vomit cherry pips. If you are easily squeamish this scene may not be for you. One thing is definitely for sure, you will never look at cherries in the same way ever again.
Overall, the film is a horror comedy with elements of drama and fantasy thrown into the eclectic mix. The best way to enjoy the film is to accept it as it is and simply watch the trio of comic performances by Cher, Sarandon and Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson in a devilish and extremely memorable portrayal.