Roald Dahl has become one of the most iconic children’s book authors of all time with novels like James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG. However, film adaptations of his stories have been very hit or miss, especially with Dahl himself. When an adaptation of The Witches was released in 1990, Dahl was said to have despised the film, upset with how different it was from his original source material and regarding it as “utterly appalling.” Despite the movie getting a positive reception from fans and critics, Dahl was less than impressed. Nearly 30 years after the film’s release and Dahl’s death, it was announced that Robert Zemeckis would be directing an adaptation of The Witches that was more faithful to the original book. On October 2, 2020, the first trailer for the movie was released.

In this trailer, we see a young boy (Jahzeer Kadeem Bruno) moving in with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer), after the death of his parents. In the background the voice of Chris Rock is heard as he is revealed to be the narrator. Through narration, it is shown that the boy’s grandmother did her best to make him happy. As the two are seen bonding, the narrator explains that while he originally didn’t know it, there was a dark shadow looming by. The narrator explains that witches are real and they have a hatred for children. We then cut to a hotel, as we see a large group of witches disguised as normal women enter. They are led by Grand High Witch, played by Anne Hathaway. This character was originally played by Angelica Huston in the 1990 film. The Grand High Witch then speaks with the hotel manager (Stanley Tucci), asking what would happen if the hotel was infested with rats. When he responds that the exterminator would be called, the Grand High Witch loudly announces to her fellow witches that they would “exterminate those brats,” much to the hotel manager’s confusion. We then see shots of the witches gathered in a room, where Hathaway’s character explains her plan in which they will turn all the children at the hotel into mice through the use of a potion. We then see the main boy turned into a mouse, before reuniting with his grandmother who is shocked to see him as a rodent. The grandmother vows to take the witches down while hiding her grandson from the hotel staff. When the manager questions why the grandmother is carrying a mouse in her purse, she merely scoffs at this, not revealing that she is hiding the boy and his friends in her bag. We then cut to the title card as the trailer ends.

Fans of the original book are excited to see Zemeckis’ more faithful take of Dahl’s story. The Witches will premiere on October 22 on the HBO Max streaming service.

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