TITLE: The Witch
RELEASE DATE: 2016
SCORE: 4 out of 4
This film is simply amazing. Certainly, I imagine regular film critics going to it — not used to constantly watching horror films — and walking away deeply disturbed. It is a disturbing film, and even a desensitized maniac like myself was a bit shaken up by it. Not because of any gore, or ultra violence but mostly from the very real and and terrible life of Colonial-era Puritan homesteading. I feel like if you haven’t seen it, this is one of those movies where avoiding any prior knowledge of it will improve the viewing. But, this is a review so read on if you want to know a little more.
This is a serious, on-its-face supernatural thriller. In this film people completely believe in the devil, in witches, the redemptive power of Christ, and all of these things actually exist in-universe. I don’t think this is exactly a spoiler, it’s pretty clear that such is the case. The details, however, are more complicated before the 10 minute mark of the film. It feels completely authentic. Honestly, I don’t really know exactly how Pilgrim’s talked, dressed, or lived their daily lives but clearly some real research went into this so I will just assume that it’s fairly historically accurate — this added to the horror as in the back of my mind I was continually thinking, “wow people really lived this way, this is fucking insane!”
The film revolves around a small family that, for some reason not entirely clear, has a falling out with their small village and moves to the wilderness to start their own farm, very close to the start of a large expanse of woods. The children are forbidden to enter this forest, and they obey their parents; the fear of god is ever-present in everyone’s minds.
Soon enough though, bad things befall the small farm, complete with historically accurate examples of bad omens. The parents a slow to accept that they have ben cursed by a witch, especially the father - who he himself admits (in a very intense scene near the end) is prideful.
The film keeps ratcheting up the suspense and doesn’t let go until the very end, and the ending is pretty amazing. This is a must see, it’s a fantastic horror film and a great film period (and a great period film).