Notable Differences From the Original “The Witches”

Comparing the 1990 film “The Witches” to the 2020 Remake

Photo by The Witches (1990) on

The 2020 remake of “The Witches” based off of the children’s dark fantasy novel “The Witches” by Roald Dahl stays true to the original, while still presenting notable differences. The 2020 remake features actresses such as Anne Hathaway, who plays the Grand High Witch, and Octavia Spencer, who plays Luke’s grandmother.

In the 1990 original fantasy family film “The Witches” we see a boy named Luke end up under the care of his grandmother. Luke’s grandmother always shared with him stories about witches but it wasn’t until he came in contact with one that he actually believed in them. In hopes of distancing Luke from witches, Luke’s grandmother decided that staying at a hotel would be a good idea. While exploring the hotel Luke stumbles upon a convention of witches and hears them creating a plan to eliminate children by turning them into mice. In the film, Luke is turned into a mouse by the witches and it is up to him to fight back and stop them from turning more kids into mice.

Here are some notable differences between the original film and the 2020 remake:

Luke’s Parents
In the original film, it is not blatantly explained how Luke lost his parents and the audience is left wondering what happened to them. In the remake though, it is shown how Luke lost his parents and how after their deaths he had to move in with his grandma.

The Mice
In the 1990 film “The Witches” once Luke and his friend Bruno were turned into mice, there is a scene where they try communicating with Luke’s pet mice but were unsuccessful when doing so. In the remake once Luke and Bruno were turned into mice we see Luke’s pet mouse Daisy not only rescue the both of them from danger but also talk to them. In the remake, Daisy tells them she was actually a kid who was turned into a mouse as well. Since Daisy was a kid before being a mouse and fell victim to a witch, this is why she, Luke and Bruno are able to communicate with one another.

The Witches
At the convention of witches they reveal their true appearances with one another. This scene from the original film compared to the remake shows that they are consistent with each other. When the witches reveal their true forms in both films they are bald, have no toes, and have claws. The only difference when it came to appearance was Anne Hathaway’s character as the Grand High Witch. In the original film the Grand High Witch reveals a disgustingly grotesque contorted face when she takes off her mask of a face but in Anne Hathaway’s version of the Grand High Witch we see her face change but not as dramatically as the original films Grand High Witch’s.

The Ending
In the 1990 film, a witch visits Luke and his grandmother at home and turns him into his human kid self again and the movie ends there. At the end of the 2020 remake, we watch Luke and his grandma leave the hotel and go back home and bring Bruno and Daisy with them. In the original film, Bruno never came home with Luke and his grandma, he stayed with his parents. In the 2020 remake of the film Luke, Bruno and Daisy remained as mice and grew older as their mouse selves.

Compared to the original version from 1990, the 2020 remake of “The Witches” gives more details and has clearer storytelling. These added details within the remake filled holes which the original film had you wondering what happened. When comparing the Grand High Witches in both films the Grand High Witch’s appearance in the remake came up short in comparison to the original films Grand High Witch because she wasn’t terrifying as she appeared glamorous. Between the two films the remake did a good job on developing a clear story from beginning to end.