Horror is a genre that only blossoms about one or two great films a year. Don’t get me wrong, there is an abundance of good horrors out there. Whether they are cheesy and fun or shit your pants jumpy, horror can produce endless entertaining films yet only few will etch themselves into your mind, plague your conscious for days, and leave you thriving in fear.
And I feel sorry for any horror movie coming this year, because The Witch has already secured one of those spots.
The Witch revolves around a Puritan family who, for unknown reasons, are cast out of the local village and community. Living on a farm on the outskirts of a wood, William, his wife Katherine, daughter Thomasin, son Caleb, and twins Mercy and Jonas make the most of their isolated circumstances. When Katherine gives birth to a fifth child, Samuel, she is dismayed when he disappears – taken by an unknown force into the forest. Blaming Thomasin and fearing her impending womanhood, the family start to unravel as sudden and unexpected events cause great distress. But what exactly is causing these events? Is this happening closer to home?
Honing in sublime aesthetics that broil with mystical elements and energies, The Witch ensnares with its palpable sublime flesh and the dangerous meat that you can bite underneath. As you are cast under the visceral spell of cinematography, writer and director Robert Eggers weaves an enticing story that is a slow and brooding horror. The tension mounts with each heinous act that is committed on the family. The shocks are burning, untangling a familial bond that undoes the mantra of pure love for one’s kin making it a spectacularly sullen film which the film’s terror unfolds intellectually and emotionally..
Within the tale, actors take no heed in performing with their utmost skill. No question should be made about Kate Dickie being Scotland’s finest and most intriguing actresses who can tackle the most intricate of characters. As the grief-stricken mother losing trust in her own daughter Thomasin, despite the protests of love, Dickie sublime works the disdain across her tongue and beats with a vicious and unforgiving heart. Ralph Ineson, a British actor who you’ll recognise from Game of Thrones, The Office, and Harry Potter, captivates as a father trying to keep his unit in order yet driven mad by crimes made against him and his brood.
Yet at a young age, its rising star Anya Taylor-Joy (who looks to raise her acting portfolio in creepy upcoming horror Morgan,) As Thomasin, a girl rife with guilt and troubles, growth and becoming, darkness and innocence, Taylor-Joy masterful dabbles in a teenage girls struggle in a Puritan world, particularly when the woo of evilness spikes her interest. Navigating a family so keen to shun her quickly whilst unsure of the spirits that command her, Taylor-Joy conveys so much and commands you to pay attention with her expressive form.
Eggers’ craft is bewitching, brewing with torturous horror that never relents in the seething tension. The Witch is stunning and complex, aching with every beat until the final climatic scene which is redolent across your crawling skin.
THE WITCH IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW!