The Witch (2016) Horror Movie Review


“The Witch,” a film that debuted in 2016, has since been etched into the minds of horror aficionados as a modern classic that defies the conventional jump-scare tactics of its genre. Directed by Robert Eggers, who made his directorial debut with this feature, the film is an unsettling exploration of a Puritan family’s descent into madness in 17th-century New England.

The film opens with the family facing banishment from their plantation community due to the father’s religious pride, leading them to settle on the edge of an ominous forest. This setting becomes a character in its own right, a brooding presence that looms over the family’s increasingly dire circumstances. The authenticity of the period is meticulously crafted, from the archaic dialogue, drawn from historical texts, to the natural lighting that casts long shadows and an eerie pall over the scenes.

At the heart of “The Witch” is the family’s eldest daughter, Thomasin, portrayed with a captivating mix of innocence and burgeoning awareness by Anya Taylor-Joy. As misfortune befalls the family, suspicion and paranoia turn inward, with Thomasin becoming the scapegoat for the inexplicable events that unravel the family’s bonds. The film’s feminist undertones are hard to miss, as Thomasin’s coming-of-age becomes a crucible for the family’s anxieties about faith, femininity, and the unknown.

Eggers’ direction ensures that the horror in “The Witch” is not just supernatural but deeply psychological. The film’s pacing is deliberate, allowing the tension to build slowly and inexorably until it reaches a climax that is both shocking and inevitable. The score, composed by Mark Korven, further accentuates the film’s haunting atmosphere with its dissonant tones and minimalist approach.

Critics have lauded “The Witch” for its thought-provoking narrative and its ability to disturb without resorting to gratuitous violence. It’s a film that lingers with you, challenging the viewer to consider the nature of evil and the darkness that can arise from fervent belief and fear. With its rich symbolism and allegorical depth, “The Witch” is a film that rewards multiple viewings, each uncovering new layers of its intricate tapestry of terror.

In the Nutshell

In conclusion, “The Witch” is a masterful blend of historical drama and horror that offers a chilling glimpse into the human psyche when faced with the incomprehensible. It’s a film that stands apart for its atmospheric tension and psychological depth, marking Robert Eggers as a filmmaker with a unique vision for storytelling that respects the intelligence of its audience. For those who appreciate horror that is cerebral as well as visceral, “The Witch” is a must-watch that continues to provoke discussion and admiration years after its release. I give 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this movie.

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Genre:  Witches and Witchcraft

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