Follow TV Tropes


Film / Teen Witch

Go To
Teen Wolf came out in 1985 as a fun, relatively harmless comedy film, but it mostly catered to boys. Why not have a version that approached the other market? But we obviously can't have a teen girl running around as a beastly werewolf. So let's make her a Cute Witch, instead!

Teen Witch is a 1989 film that began life as the above scenario, but eventually diverged enough during production to gain an identity of its own. It's the story of Louise Miller, a shy high school student, who one night discovers — with the help of a Fortune Teller, Madame Serena — that she is a reincarnated witch whose powers will manifest on her (Not So) Dangerous 16th Birthday. Serena then provides Louise with a Spell Book to practice her powers. With them, she hopes to overcome her unpopularity, date the guy of her dreams, and maybe even help out her friends with their own problems. But is it all worth it in the end?

This movie contains examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Louise views Kiki as this, although other than being the most popular girl in school, head cheerleader, and Brad's girlfriend, she doesn't do anything particularly bitchy.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Louise's brother taunts and bullies his sister, while her parents refuse to keep him in line, essentially telling Louise to take care of her own problems (which she eventually does, via witchcraft).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Probably the reason that Louise becomes a Cute Witch instead of a hairy, unattractive werewolf.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The film seems to be attempting to convey this lesson, but the consequences of Louise's magic are pretty negligible: being the center of attention gets kind of annoying and her best friend gets mad at her. The wishes Louise grants to give other people their heart's desire likewise have minimal consequences. Making one of her friends a millionaire, for example, has the drawback that now everyone only likes her for her money...but she's still a millionaire.
  • Big Man on Campus: Brad, the school's star football player. All the girls have a crush on him, all the boys consider him a bro, and he definitely considers himself a great big deal.
  • Boastful Rap: By a trio of white boys, no less. Top that!
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Louise punishes the cheerleaders by casting a spell on them that forces them to tell the truth.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Talking in class is rude, yes. But that doesn't justify reading a teenage girl's diary aloud in class to humiliate her in front of her peers.
  • The '80s: From the fashion to the music, everything about this movies just screams this trope.
  • Exact Words: Louise's powers tend to manifest very literally. There's the above trope, and later, she uses the classic theater luck-wishing phrase "Break a leg" to her friend Kiki.
  • Fanservice: Because this is the 80s, we get multiple scenes of teenage girls walking around in purple leotards, presumably thrown in for the teen males anxious about going to see a girl movie.
  • Familiar: An interesting case, because it's an object rather than an animal. Louise is given an ancient medallion by her theater arts teacher which Serena tells her is a symbol of her powers which will follow her through each lifetime.
  • Forced Transformation: Louise accidentally turns her brother into a dog. Via a case of "I'm rubber, you're glue".
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: The "I Like Boys" song the cheerleaders sing while dancing around the locker room.
  • Hidden Depths: After Mr. Weaver humiliates Louise, Kiki can be seen glaring at him, indicating she's not such an Alpha Bitch after all and can sympathize with Louise.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • The week before Louise gains her powers is the worst day of her life: one of her teachers reads Louise's erotic fanfic about the school hunk in front of her entire class, including said hunk; the cheerleaders in the locker room ignore her; her little brother bullies her and her parents take his side rather than hers; and it doesn't even look as if anyone likes her well enough to come to her Sweet Sixteen party.
    • The first thing Louise does with her magic is unleashing a Humiliation Conga on everyone who wronged her the previous week.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms/Long List: During a sex education class:
    Teacher: Can anyone tell me what this might represent? <holds up a closed umbrella>
    Student: A roger, a love wand, joystick, dong, zipper lizard, tallywhacker, trouser snake, schlong—
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Louise looks longingly at the more popular, prettier girls in her school and wishes she could be one of them.
  • IKEA Erotica: "He pressed his lips against mine, but he didn't stop there. Soon, every inch of my body was covered with Brad's kisses. Who would believe tonight, I was totally his."
  • Kryptonite Factor: Water reverses the effects of Louise's spells.
  • Left the Background Music On/Diegetic Switch: A strange combination. After the popularity spell, Louise starts to step outside, but suddenly hears a bass beat start up in the soundtrack and shuts the door in surprise, making the song stop. She then shrugs it off and continues outside, and the song resumes.
  • Love Potion: Louise initially wants to get Brad this way, but she can't bring herself to force him to love her.
  • The Magic Goes Away: But the perks it granted her remain.
  • The Makeover: Practically the first thing Louise does with her new-found powers is give herself a magical makeover. This involves a perm and a new wardrobe.
  • No Antagonist: At no point does anyone stand in Louise's way or keep her from accomplishing her goals. At worst, we get a few annoying minor characters who make her life miserable, all of whom are easily dispatched once she gains magic powers. The film seems to want us to believe that Kiki is Louise's prime antagonist, but Kiki's greatest crimes are that she's dating the boy Louise likes, that Louise wants to take her place as the most popular girl in school, and that she's a bit shallow and boy-crazy.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In-universe pop star Shana is basically Madonna.
    • Somewhat averted in that she was played by real-life Madonna-esque pop singer Cindy Valentine, who also co-wrote several songs for the soundtrack.
  • Plot Hole: Water reverses spells, and it's shown from when Louise casts the truth spell on the popular girls that this applies to spells that aren't just physical transformations. Despite this, Louise's popularity spell lasts throughout the whole movie, until it's implied that she reverses it at the end. Apparently Louise never needed to shower or hydrate... Also, the voodoo doll Louise made isn't deterred by being put in the washing machine.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: The aforementioned trio of white rappers. Period, exclamation mark, full stop.
  • Puberty Superpower: Louise gets magical powers on her sixteenth birthday. The Nostalgia Chick's review of this movie provides the page quote.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Weaver delights in embarrassing his students.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Louise's popularity spell turns her from frumpy to a bombshell...except that she didn't really need magic to achieve it, just a change in hairstyle and wardrobe.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Shy, slightly nerdy wallflower Louise pines for Brad, the school's star football player.
  • Voodoo Doll: Louise creates one to take revenge on Mr. Weaver.
  • We Used to Be Friends: As Louise moves up in popularity, she leaves aside her old friend Polly, who naturally resents this treatment.
  • Weather Manipulation: The very first spells Louise tries affect the weather, bringing rain and winds.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Louise makes her date disappear, and he never reappears throughout the whole movie.
    • Polly and Louise's friendship fall out after Louise casts the popularity spell is never resolved.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Louise her friend happen upon a few street kids rapping. Louise uses her magic to give her friend the power to rap back at them.
  • Wish-Fulfillment: Louise's magical powers allow her to do absolutely anything, from making money rain from the sky to making everyone like her, with little to no effort on her part and precisely zero consequences. It's only when she realizes her power has alienated her best friend that she gives it up, but she still keeps 99% of her magically ill-gotten gains, including her new boyfriend and her new look. If there's An Aesop to be found, it's that maybe it is slightly better for people to like you for who you are.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: See Wish-Fulfillment above. Louise discovers she can literally alter the whole world to suit her own rather narrow high-school level ambitions, and she has a great time doing it.