Film Review – The Witch (2015)


Title – The Witch (2015)

Director – Robert Eggers (feature debut)

Cast – Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw

Plot – In 1630’s New England a devout Puritan family is banished by their religious community and forced to make ends meet on a farm that borders woodland that quite possibly harbors dark and bloodthirsty evil within it. After numerous misfortunes the family led by fatherly figure William (Ineson) begins to question their very faith as mistrust within begins to grow.

“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”

Review by Eddie on 4/05/2016

Forgoing the jump scare and gore tactics that have inhabited and tarnished the horror genre over the last decade, first time filmmaker Robert Eggers has with his old English folktale The Witch (a film Jordan nominated as his most anticipated of the year) created an utterly unnerving and moody piece of horror filmmaking that whilst won’t have audiences covering their eyes, will most certainly have them squirming in their seats and feeling incredibly uneasy during and after proceedings.

Tinged with the religious zealously and witch fearing pandemonium that infested the landscape in which The Witch is based in, Eggers has created something refreshingly unique with his picture, from the Ye Olde English dialogue which itself is based on writings of the day, through to the atmospheric capturing of its countryside and regardless of genre, The Witch is undoubtedly one of the most effective films in some time concerning its ability to draw the viewer into its particular mood, which in this case is pure palpable dread from its first frame through to its last horrific hoorah.

Centering this period tale almost exclusively within the confines of a Puritan Family’s lowly farm, after their fatherly patriarch William (played effectively by Ralph Ineson) is excommunicated by a local plantation community and the family is banished to the edges of woods that are quite possibly haunted by a witch or witches, Eggers manages to draw out scene after scene of tension riddled family and spiritual dramas that are expertly crafted and effectively played out by its actors.

Showcasing skills as a writer and director, The Witch also signals Eggers ability with actors and in particular young performers with both Anya Taylor-Joy and Harvey Scrimshaw as well-meaning brother and sister Thomasin and Caleb respectively delivering above average turns for actors of their age and tasked with delivering hefty material, The Witch finds itself in safe hands whenever these two teenagers take center stage. It must also be noted that Eggers shows himself a deft hand with animals as well, Black Phillip the goat and a seemingly nefarious bunny rabbit hold their own in this not for the faint of heart experience.

Not a film for those that have become accustomed to their horror in the form of cheap Hollywood knockoffs and anthologies that have lasted long after their use by dates, The Witch may not be perfect horror but it’s about as close as your likely to get in today’s climate and based on this memorable and disquieting experience (who or what exactly is the titular witch?), Eggers is a filmmaker that could well be the savior of modern day horror, not a bad feat by a director on debut.

4 thirsty crows out of 5

29 responses to “Film Review – The Witch (2015)

  1. Perfect, perfect, perfect!! Someone else who gets it. There is hope left in this world. Mind you, not much, but I’ll take this tiny little bit. If this piece of yours doesn’t convince people to see this movie, I dare say nothing will. It’s quite sad, but you noted already. So thankful someone else loved this film, and all that was put into making it.

    • Cheers mate. Happy to hear we’re on the same page with this one, its a really neat addition to the horror cannon and I really can’t wait for more people to discover it! It’s a film that’s worth delving into multiple times to understand its nuances, at least that’s what I took from it from first viewing on the weekend.

  2. Nice review. I applaud all the creepy atmosphere and realism, but the story makes so little sense, it physically hurts. Eggers was so wrapped up with his authentic dialects, he really forgot about the substance. It feels like people were inventing things as they moved with each scene shoot. Totally off-the wall.

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  4. Not a horror fan but chose this as my first foray – what a great choice. Watched with three others who didn’t get it (they laughed continuously during the last 30 minutes) but I loved it. I think my favorite part was the slight twist the ending put on everything that came before. It’s not exactly The Crucible . . .

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