King Knight review – California witches go to high school reunion in charming comedy
Richard Bates Jr’s uncompromisingly downbeat and shruggingly listless indie comedy about a coven of new age Californian witches has been coolly received in some quarters. And yes, it is extremely silly, and a lot of the ideas are undeveloped. But its sheer inconsequentiality is part of the charm and however aimless and throwaway it is, there is a consistent thread and the low-level absurdity is maintained, just about. I did find myself laughing.
Thorn and Willow (played by Matthew Gray Gubler and Angela Sarafyan) are a handsome modern couple who haughtily preside over a contemporary wiccan community: a crowd of professionals who in their spare hours come to Thorn and Willow for spiritual guidance, relationship advice and to indulge in freeform dance-orientated pagan rituals dressed in floaty white garments. But then Willow is astonished to find an email inviting Thorn back to his 20th-anniversary school reunion and, so far from always being the moody Goth outsider-radical she assumed, she learns he was once Thornton: a prom king, class president and super-popular high schooler who played lacrosse and was voted most likely to succeed. Furious, Willow and the rest of the witches banish this hypocrite from their group. And in a state of existential despair, Thorn goes “walkabout”, heading for the school reunion where he has to make peace with his straight past and with his formidable mother, who he assured Willow was dead but is anything but.
In truth, the script for King Knight could have been punched up a little and the gags about Juliette Binoche don’t work quite as well as everyone thinks. But there are one or two amiable laughs.
• King Knight is released on 8 August on digital platforms.