This movie may not be for everyone, but if you surrender to the intensity of The Witch, you will be rewarded with an amazing – and very scary – story.
If you follow news and reviews for horror movies, then The Witch is one of those movies you really haven’t been able to miss. It’s anything but a traditional horror movie, because of it’s pace, dialogue and very simple plot.
If I was to compare it to anything more modern, it would probably be the Blair Witch story, since this also takes place in a forest and the real question is whether the witch is real or simply a scary story. However, make no mistake, The Witch is a lot less hype and jump scares, and offers a very deep and relevant fear.
The intensity of The Witch comes from two very relevant elements for me; The power of religion and the history of what happened to women, who were accused of being a witch. Religion is a very powerful driving force in The Witch and especially the mother of the family – played with fierceness by Kate Dickie, who you’ll probably recognize from Prometheus or Game of Thrones – is fighting with her own faith.
The family is struggling and God seems unwilling to help her, which is making her turn away from religion. Until she finds something – or someone – to blame in the form of her older daughter, who is becoming a woman and therefore a threat to the parents and children dynamic. At least that seems to be how her mom sees it. The father is a very God fearing man and holds on to both his faith and his love for his children, but not without paying a price.
When things go wrong and people struggle, we always look for a reason why – and in doing so, a way out of the misery. In this case, even the goat called “Black Phillip” is somewhere in between comfort (to the youngest kids) and danger because the goat becomes a symbol of everything wrong.
This was the feature film debut for Robert Eggers as both screenwriter and director, but with the critical acclaim (including winning several awards and introducing a new rising star in Anya Taylor-Joy) I expect we’ll be seeing more great things from him. Hopefully soon.
The Witch (Full title is The VVitch: A New-England Folktale) is out on DVD and Blu-ray now!
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.