Custom Search


The Witch (2015)

Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Julian Richings, Ellie Grainger, Bathsheba Garnett
Rated R, 93 minutes

 THE WITCH tells a simple story: a banished Puritan family's new life in exile is shattered when they are targeted by supernatural forces. But it's director Robert Eggers minimalist approach to horror and and a set of incredible performances from its cast that give the film a richness and an unsettling power not often found in modern horror cinema.

The film takes place in the 16th century, decades before the Salem Witch trials, and immerses viewers in the world of fire and brimstone and superstition, where God smiles on the pure and the Devil is very, very real. Despite their religious devotion, the family is slowly succumbing to the hardships and isolation of their new existence. One morning, baby Samuel vanishes while in the care of eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). From there, an already dire situation spirals into a nightmare as tensions within the family begin boiling over, while an unfathomable evil living within the woods moves closer and closer to the distraught family.

This is a slow burning story with an oppressive and menacing atmosphere that never relents for its running time. Its intelligent and profound mix of family drama and out and out horror recalls the sort of dynamics employed by THE EXORCIST, another film that managed to balance intelligence with visceral shock tactics that left viewers equally unnerved. In his feature-length directorial debut, Robert Eggers shows remarkable control over every aspect of the film; he allows his excellent cast to convey the horrors of the unknown without resorting to the sort of cheap tricks that taint far too many of today's horror films. With its beautifully gloomy photography (by cinematographer Jarin Blashke)  and eerie score by Mark Korven, the film is an immersive experience in which the viewer is transported to a bleak and frightening world where the wilds are home to the sort of primal forces thought only to exist in nightmares.

THE WITCH bears all the marks of a great work of art; its simple story is vague enough to allow its meaning and subtext to be discussed at length, and does so without broadcasting any sort of hidden agenda. But most importantly, it is a perfectly conceived and executed horror film that will leave the viewer disturbed and unsettled long after it has ended. THE WITCH is a masterpiece that will take its place among the greatest horror films ever made.

5 out of 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment