(1973)2.5Keith PhippsA film that could only have come from the early '70s, George Romero's Season of the Witch has an Ice Storm-like quality to it, exploring the at once liberating and tragic implications of the '60s counterculture as its impact spilled belatedly into the suburbs. Explicitly and uncompromisingly feminist, it takes Jan White's bored housewife as the locus of its culture clash. Her dreams are troubled by the unhappiness she can't address in the daytime. Neglected, patronized, sexually dissatisfied, she discovers in witchcraft a seat of feminine power otherwise denied to her by society. One of Romero's least-veiled bits of cultural commentary, Witch occasionally becomes burdened both by its directness and its talkiness. On the whole, however, this is as effective a film as the director has made, in many respects years ahead of its time, assuming a position more extreme than The Stepford Wives or even, for the most part, Thelma and Louise. With its wildly uneven acting and seams-showing production values, it will never be mistaken for an unqualified success, but its shoestring surrealism and unwavering tone of ensuing tragedy helps make it a startlingly powerful film.