To celebrate Halloween, Roald Dahl’s classic children’s horror story The Witches has returned to stun a whole new generation, with a star-studded cast in tow.
Anjelica Huston starred in the first adaptation, released in 1990, which many adults still look back on as one of the scariest movies of their formative years.
Now, legendary director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) has put his fresh spin on the tale, which sees a young boy and his grandmother desperately attempt to stop the plans of an evil witch.
Academy Award winners Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer lead the cast, which also includes the ever-charming Stanley Tucci and promising newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno.
Originally intended for a cinema release, the pandemic has prompted a change in distribution strategy, meaning The Witches is now available to watch from the comfort of your home – just in time for the spookiest night of the year.
Read on for everything you need to know about 2020’s The Witches remake.
How to watch The Witches (2020) in the UK
The film is available to purchase on a range of platforms in the UK, at a price of £15.99.
This includes Sky Store, which allows users to purchase movies for rental without the need for any subscription. To do so, you just need to head to the website and click rent – you’ll then have 30 days to start watching your movie and then a further 48 hours to finish it.
The Witches is available to rent from Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Microsoft Store, and the Google Play store. Warner Bros released the film on their streaming service HBO Max in the United States.
Prime and iTunes also provide the option to watch in 4K UHD at no extra cost.
The family flick had originally been planned for a cinema release, but this idea was scrapped following the spread of COVID-19.
When was The Witches released?
The Witches was made available as a 48 hour rental from Monday 26th October for £15.99 via Premium Video on Demand (PVOD) platforms.
Is The Witches (2020) on Netflix?
Unfortunately not, at least for the time being. The film is only being released on Premium Video On Demand for now, with no word on whether it might come to Netflix at some point in the future.
There certainly won’t be a shortage of Roald Dahl content on the streamer before too long though – the platform has plans to adapt a number of the writer’s works in the coming years, including new animated versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.
The Witches (2020) cast
Oscar-winning Les Misérables star Anne Hathaway plays the Grand High Witch, and is joined by The Shape of Water’s Octavia Spencer as grandmother to Bruno, one of the boys who fights the witches.
Comedian Chris Rock (Fargo) acts as narrator, while Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) appears as the manager of the posh hotel where the witches hatch their evil plan.
The role of Bruno is played by relative newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, who some TV fans may recognise from his role on Donald Glover sitcom Atlanta, where he played Omari.
The film also has a stellar creative team, with Zemeckis in the director’s chair and Oscar winners Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón executive producing.
How is The Witches remake different?
The Witches acts as both a remake of the 1990 movie starring Anjelica Huston, as well as a fresh adaptation of Roald Dahl’s dark 1983 children’s book of the same name.
The story follows a seven-year-old boy, Bruno, who comes face-to-face with a group of witches in a fancy hotel, who have an evil plan to turn children into mice before exterminating them.
Teaming up with two other children and his grandmother, Bruno fights to thwart their terrible scheme – but that won’t be easy after he’s transformed into a rodent by a magical potion.
While the 1990 film was a loose adaptation – disliked by Dahl as the ending differed from the book – this new imagining is expected to be more rooted in the original source material.
Is there a trailer for The Witches?
Warner Bros dropped a first look trailer for The Witches in October, which introduces our heroes and their fearsome foes, led by Anne Hathaway’s cruel Grand High Witch.
What is Premium Video On Demand?
Premium Video On Demand (PVOD) is a relatively new concept launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which allows studios to release films that had originally been intended for cinemas.
In lieu of a cinema release, these titles are released online for a higher price than usual, often in the region of £20 for a purchase or rental, in the hopes that they will be able to make back considerable production costs.
Most of these films are exclusively available at the PVOD price point for several weeks, but eventually become available at a lower cost when the studio sees fit.
The Witches will be released online on Monday 26th October. While you’re waiting, visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.