Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrumshaw, Ellie Grainger, and Lucas Dawson
With The Northman just being released, and as I’m not able to see it yet, as I’m stuck at home ill, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to revisit Robert Eggers first film, The Witch. Released back in 2015, The Witch is a deeply creepy and unsettling film and was a massive critical success, often mentioned as one of the greatest horror films of recent years. It was a great start to Robert Eggers list of feature films, which also includes the excellent The Lighthouse.
The Witch is also the first film to star Anya Taylor-Joy, as long as you don’t include a deleted scene in Vampire Academy, who stars as Thomasin, a teenager whose family is banished from the local village due to religious reasons. Her family builds a farm in the middle of nowhere, near a forest where a witch lives. When Thomasin is playing peekaboo with the baby of the family, Samuel, he’s snatched while her eyes are closed, and the family starts to turn on each other as things get stranger and stranger.
Until Samuel disappears it’s easy to mistake this film for a period drama. It’s set in the 17th century, and everything seems to be setting up for a family drama, and then Samuel is kidnapped in an instant, which is followed by a strange and surreal scene of the witch sacrificing him. It’s an intense opening, that’s accompanied with a loud and eerie from Mark Korven. It’s something that really gets under you skin and doesn’t leave.
Once the horror really gets going, it’s very bizarre and strange. It’s not the goriest or the most shocking, but it’s completely visceral and is deeply unsettling. As the family start to turn on each other, and they’re not really sure what’s going on, it’s some of the greatest moments of horror from the last ten years.
Part period drama and part horror film, The Witch leaves a lasting impression that stays with you long after it ends.
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