The Witch: A Fantastic Horror Film That Will Linger in Your Memory
The biggest problem with The Witch is the insane visuals can never be unseen. It is a sensory-blasting experience that is confidently directed and skillfully filmed. The Witch is a realistic and patient horror film that rewards people with attention spans and will certainly annoy those who are looking for slasher violence. It joins the ranks of recent horror films like It Follows, The Babadook, Spring, Creep, Honeymoon, Under the Skin, Cheap Thrills and The Guest because of their adherence to telling a good story that fits in the “horror” realm.
The Witch tells the story of a 17th-century Puritan family dealing with an absolute jerk of a witch. The family moved away from their Puritan settlement because of threat of banishment, and they’ve alienated themselves in the New England woods in order to practice their interpretation of the bible. The father William (Ralph Ineson) is a gruff man who wants to “conquer the woods” and his family suffers from the isolation and oppression. The four kids do the best they can, but living in the harsh conditions makes them stir-crazy and bored (never a good thing for kids).
Things start going south when during an innocent game of peekaboo between teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her baby brother goes awry. When Thomasin opens her eyes the baby is missing and we are unlucky enough to view a shocking montage of terrible witch/baby activity. From there, paranoia and shifting blame takes place, and the family has to endure things that would make the Blair Witch cringe.
The Witch is a tough watch, but director Robert Eggers confident direction gives the viewer a truly unique and meticulously researched vision. As a fan of film I appreciated that a rookie director was able to create such a unique and singular film. I was also surprised to learn that director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) rescued the film in post-production and helped get it a wide release. I appreciate that such a tiny film has made such a splash.
Thank you Chris Columbus!
The gap between critics and audiences when it comes to The Witch is pretty wild. The Rotten Tomatoes critical average is currently 91% while audiences scored it at 55%. The gap is understandable because this is an art-house horror film that doesn’t pander to the gore hounds. Jason Coffman of Cinenation wrote a great piece entitled “This is why we can’t have nice things: “The Witch” and horror fandoms gatekeepers.” Coffman laments the fact that supposed horror lovers hate the film and went of their way to bash it in the online forums. I loved the piece and it motivated me to write about horror films that could actually unite the masses because I am very interested in the gap between horror fans. The Witch was marketed as “the scariest horror film in years.” I can somewhat agree with the statement but that statement doomed the film to mass complaints. This is not a “wham bam” horror film that kills co-eds and features a horror menace who needs sequels.
The Witch is not for the faint of heart. It is a tough watch that will linger in your memory and make you uncomfortable when building a settlement in the woods. If you are a big time cinephile check it out!