When horror maestro Stephen King speaks about a movie that “scared the hell” out of him, you have to take notice. From King’s Twitter:
Take from that what you will, but I was already sold from the moment I saw the first trailer to ‘The Witch.’ Being that I’m a huge movie fan and even a bigger fan for horror films, I will write an occasional film review from time to time on my blog. So it goes without saying that this is my official first film review! How exciting is that?! Okay, you might not share the same level of enthusiasm, but I hope I can convince you to pull up a chair and hangout for a moment.
Let’s get this out right now–this movie is not for everyone. If you are the type of moviegoer who is totally against violence, even implied towards children, this movie won’t sit well with you. Even more so, if you don’t appreciate films for the historical value, cinematography or artistry and only want cheap jump scares with the typical plot and meaningless ending, then you probably won’t enjoy the film as I have. Robert Eggers, who both directed and wrote ‘The Witch,’ brilliantly adopted the ‘less is more’ formula; meaning that the things you don’t see are more horrifying than those that you do.
Set in New England circa 1630, “The Witch’ perfectly blends old-world horrors with modern feminist ideas. Writer/director Robert Eggers clearly played upon Puritan mythology and the Witches of Salem folklore. The film is deeply unhappy and unnerving, which made for a terrifying, slow-burn horror film. You witness how the Puritan family is pushed to the brink by supernatural forces, as it unfolds against the backdrop of religious conviction and intolerance. You just knew that there would be no happy ending by the time the end credits start to roll. I wouldn’t say it’s the most scariest movie I’ve seen years, but it’s arguably the most cerebral one that plays up the true powers of evil by both humanistic and supernatural means. When the audience leaves out the theater in stunning silence, that’s a job well-done by the film’s director.
‘The Witch’s biggest strength is quite possibly it’s haunting imagery and eerie score; it just never let’s up on the sense of dread that’s carried throughout the entire film. The other thing I found amazing about this film is that it can be use as a captivating study in extreme paranoia and the fragile bonds that holds a family together. My only gripe is that the characters were using all 17th century dialogue–in which I found it difficult to follow at times; however, it terrifically added to the authenticity of the film. From the fantastic performances by a talented cast, to it’s relentless, chilling nature, ‘The Witch’ is a beautifully-crafted, haunting experience, that stays with you long after watching it. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, but I’m going to assume that’s just a very solid choice by the director, and not something that was expected.
They say that the seeds of legend are sown in truth. What if there was something truly sinister happening in Massachusetts which led up to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, in which hearings and prosecutions in Salem, Mass., and the surrounding area resulted in several executions, mostly of women who were accused of witchcraft and Satan worship? This is the premise that ‘The Witch’ was based upon, despite the events in the film taking place long before the witch trials. In those times, feminist ideas were not seen as such; it was frightening for women to have power to do exactly what she pleases, on her own terms, at her own leisure. These ideas was heavily considered to be under the guise of witchcraft, which ultimately led to a death sentence. So for the women who’ve seen this movie, I have to ask this question: would you have taken a chance on your life at the tribunal? Or would you have followed that black horned goat into the woods?
What did you think of ‘The Witch’ movie? Was it as good as advertised? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!