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.

The Witch posterIf 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 witch - kate dickie still

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.

The Witch still - Black Phillip

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.



The Witch has a very simple plot and writer-director Robert Eggers has based the dialogue on writing from the time [the 1630s], which is perfect for the story. Everything about The Witch is so pure and straightforward that it’s difficult not to be impressed – and scared – by the story being told. Still, when the movie was over I realized I had been at the edge of my seat and mesmerised by the performances. Especially Anya Taylor-Joy is absolutely breathtaking. This is her debut in a credited role, but it is in no way surprising that she aldready has two pretty major movies coming out with Morgan and M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.

The Witch - Anya Taylor-Joy

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!

Details

Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

Plot

A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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The Witch (The VVitch: A New-England Folktale)
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