The Witch (2015)

the witch poster 2015 movie goat
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Tense horror thriller that is intentionally undefined

People expecting a monster movie might not like it

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Witch

Studio:  Parts and Labor

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  January 27, 2015 (Sundance Film Festival)/February 19, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

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Is this because I didn’t get you a Mother’s Day gift?

A Puritan family is banished and sets up a home at the edge of a large forest.  When the family’s baby disappears, the children blame a witch living in the woods while the adults believe it to have been stolen by a wolf.  As more and more strange occurrences begin to happen, the family question if they have been cursed…and could the witch be living among them?

Written and directed by Robert Eggers, The Witch is a horror suspense film.  The film premiered at Sundance in 2015 but did not receive a release until early 2016.  The movie was released to positive reviews from critics and a strong box office compared to its modest budget.

I heard good things about The Witch almost immediately.  The trailer and the visuals looked strong, but I wasn’t able to see it until it was released on DVD/Blu-Ray.  Instead of being a letdown, The Witch lived up to the good critiques and was worth the wait.

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Is she real?

The Witch really isn’t a horror film in a lot of ways.  The movie is more Hitchcockian in nature in that it deals with a lot of paranoia and general terror.  Despite a title implying a monster, the witch really isn’t much of a factor to the story.  It is more about a family destroying itself from the inside due to their religion and doubts.  The story has a lot of shared atmosphere with something like The Innocents and it also reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour from Out of Space” (1927)…it is more nerve-wracking because you can see the people crumbling into insanity.

The cast is quite good.  Though an ensemble to begin, Anya Taylor-Joy quickly becomes the star of the film and does hold the screen as the girl taking the blunt of the blame from her family.  The twins (played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson) are rather evil and are part of the reason I’m reminded of The Innocents.  Both Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie as the parents are intentionally weak and shattered due to events and quite unlikable.  Harvey Scrimshaw does a really good job with a difficult death scene and the cast as a whole also pulls off the more archaic style of speaking.

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A crow’s gotta eat too

The visuals for the movie were quite good because they were really low budget.  The film basically utilized natural light (which did make some scenes almost too dark to see), but it gave a starkness to the picture that was necessary…plus, some great sound editing led to some jumps.

The Witch is a horror film that isn’t for everyone.  There is a lot going on in it with faith, family, and the differences between young and old that make it much more layered than many horror films.  If you want a jump a minute, don’t see The Witch, but if you want a slow, deliberate horror film that builds, check it out!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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