Peter Suderman on The Last Witch Hunter and What Makes a Great Genre Movie


This week's movie column is on the latest Vin Diesel vehicle, The Last Witch Hunter, and what makes a good genre movie. Here's how it opens: 

The Last Witch Hunter has a lot of flaws: its plodding pace, its lazy direction, its muddled story, its hopelessly expository dialogue. But the most glaring flaw of all is even more basic than any of that: There's not nearly enough witch hunting.

The movie stars Vin Diesel as Kaulder, an immortal badass who for 800 years has enforced a truce between humans and witches at the behest of a shadowy group known as the Axe and Cross. But after the opening scene, in which Kaulder — elaborately bearded and clad in macho furry armor, like a Brooklyn bartender who joined the Night's Watch — leads a band of ancient warriors into a witch's den to kill off a witch queen, there's disappointingly little actual witch hunting.

Read the whole thing at

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  1. Please don’t kill the high expectations I had for this movie.

    1. I lol’d

      and is witch-hunting even a genre? It would seem to merely be an offshoot of vampire movies a la Van Helsing.

      1. is witch-hunting even a genre

        Google “Witcher”. Watch the trailers. Great stuff.

        1. But he doesn’t hunt witches – there are real witch-hunters in the setting, and every time I walk by one he promises I’m up next, as soon as they are done with witches.
          And hopefully we’ll never see The Witcher movie. Books are cool and games are awesome, but I think going movie would ruin it. Not sure how good the TV Series was, but it strikes me as a better approach.

        2. I haven’t played the games, but I’ve read the books. The name really comes because Witchers are essentially supernaturally enhanced, sort of like Capt America. It kills most of the people who go through the process, but the ones that survive are super tough.

          And generally speaking, they hunt supernatural monsters. They seem to be allied with spell casters

    2. Ya know, I was going to keep an eye out for this, on the theory that it had lots of witch-hunting action that would be good stupid fun.

      Sounds like, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve gotten about 90% of the witch-hunting action, and there’s little stupid fun left to be had.

    3. If you had high expectations for the movie I have some bad news for you. Everything I’ve seen says the same thing – P.U.

      And I like Vin Diesel – he’s always come across as somebody who knows what his job is and he does it. It ain’t high-brow acting and it doesn’t try to be but at the same time he’s not giving a nod and a wink to the camera to let us all know he’s in on the joke which is just annoying.

    4. I thought it was a good movie. My only issue was that it was a tad slow


  3. So Vin hunts witches ironically?

  4. Read the whole thing at


    1. From the set of “links I’m never going to click on”.

  5. Sigh, Suderman. You write an article on topic dear to my heart. You make it intriguing enough for me to visit Vox. You start right, and start developing your (correct) thesis about why genre films fail or succeed. And then, like a knife in the back:

    There are few better examples of this than director John Carpenter’s string of B-movie classics during the 1980s ? Escape From New York, The Thing, and They Live. (Despite its considerable charms, Big Trouble in Little China is ultimately a little too hokey for its own good.)

    Damn, man, why you gotta be like that? BTiLC is not too hokey – it just has fun with the concept (Jack Burton is a sidekick, but he thinks he’s a hero).
    And, while not 80s, Assault on Precint 13 can sit there, since it does the same thing.

    1. Jack Burton killed Lo Pan. That makes him a hero in my book.

      (Carpenter is way overrated though.)

  6. And look, since vin Deisel is such a big D&D guy they made him his own character class……..AL-4.2.pdf

  7. Okay, go to Vox?

    Reason is now suggesting that we visit the internet’s idiocy institute?

    It’s publishing things from people brain damaged enough to write for them?


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