The eeriest thing about The Witches is that you get the sense everyone involved could care less about catering to a child’s more delicate sensibilities. This was true of Roald Dahl, of course, whose book served as the source material and whose sensibility is well honored by screenwriter Allan Scot and director Nicolas Roeg. From its prologue – about a little girl who goes missing from her village only to appear as a figure in her father’s favorite painting – to its main storyline about a hotel conference for witches planning the mass murder of England’s children, this ranks among the most mercilessly creepy children’s films I’ve seen. And that’s before Anjelica Huston, as the Grand High Witch, rips off her face to reveal her true self – a gruesome, elongated, drippy visage that bears the influence of executive producer Jim Henson (in Dark Crystal mode). The movie shifts gears about halfway through when its young hero (Jasen Fisher) is turned into a mouse. A number of Ratatouille-style adventures ensue, while Roeg employs all manner of camera techniques – extremely low angles, grotesque close-ups, mice-eye-view shots – that only enhance the film’s unsettling surrealism.