Nothing good ever happens by going into the woods or living near them. And in this horror there appears to be something horrible lurking in the woods.
In 17th Century New England a puritan family are excommunicated from their plantation due to the father’s radical religious beliefs. Living far beyond civilization on a farm near the woods the family are traumatised when the youngest child, baby Samuel disappears while under the care of eldest daughter Thomasin’s (Anna Taylor-Joy). As the crops begin to fail, suspicions of witchcraft begin to take hold of the family.
The Witch is one of the weirdest films I’ve seen in a while. After it was finished I wasn’t sure what I felt about it. I think I liked it but part of me is still trying to figure out what the hell I just watched. Writer/Director Robert Eggers has crafted a disturbing atmosphere in his début movie. With the family being thrown out from the plantation and left isolated to a malevolent force you are constantly on edge waiting to see what else befalls this family. The film plays into some of our worst fears: that someone is praying on your children and that you may not be able to trust or control what’s going on around you.
The film feels like a strange nightmare that you’ve had after falling asleep reading old fairy tales. From the creepy woods where bad things always happen, a woman in a red hood and of course witches, twisted fairytales have their blueprints all over this. The film may not be to everyones tastes, especially to those expecting to see more of a mainstream horror. This film relies less on jump scares and more on bringing you disturbing images and a forboding score that leaves you unsettled.
The film focuses on a small cast who manage to hold the film together well. The young actors playing the children are engaging and newcomer Taylor-Joy is particularly beguiling as Thomasin. Wheras the parents Ralph Ineson and Katie Dickie are in turn sympathetic and sinister.
I can imagine this being a divisive film, the showing I went to had a few walk outs. Its not a traditional horror movie so anyone looking for that will be disappointed. The filmmaker also did meteculious research into the time period and uses language spoken at the time. While I appreciated the detail that went into making it sound as authentic as possible sometimes I found it difficult to understand what the characters were saying.
Rating 3.5/5 – an unsettling movie that plays on your mind long after