The Witch is a breath of fresh air from the horror movies of the recent years. Challenging viewers to draw parallels in their own life, you’re instantly immersed in this gloomy, confusing, nightmarish world that first-time director Robert Eggers so perfectly illustrates.
The Witch Official Description
In this exquisitely made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family’s frightful unraveling in the New England wilderness circa 1630. New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest – within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately – animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways. Writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival – winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition – painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin – in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy – and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.
The film did a fantastic job at manipulating the viewer’s own emotions. While it isn’t as scary as you may think it might be from the trailer, the fear of the unknown, which is present throughout the film, lingers with you once you leave. Like any true indie horror film done right, The Witch finds success not in “peek-a-boo” moments, but in those immersive details that engulf you and bring you into the film. It’s a slow burn, starting with the mundane struggles and a barren environment, the film evolves into something incredibly unsettling. The combination of the haunting performances by Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie, a strong script, and the eerie old English dialogue (which does take a bit of effort to follow) compels one of the best horror films I’ve seen in years.
The Witch is much more haunting than it is scary. Black Phillip or the creepy twins will likely haunt your dreams in the nights following your screening of the movie. At least they did for me. But it’s refreshing to see a film that sticks with you after you leave the theater, whether it makes you smile (this one won’t) or does such a good job at imagery and story that you’re thoroughly creeped out. Three days after seeing a 5pm screening of the film, I’m still very much creeped out.
The Witch Review