Movie Review: The Witch (2015)

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The Witch (stylised as The VVitch) is a 2015 psychological horror/thriller film directed by Robert Eggers in his directorial debut. In 17th century New England, William (Ralph Ineson) and his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie), along with their daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), son Caleb and young twins Mercy and Jonas, are banished from their plantation and forced to live in a small cabin on the edge of a creepy forest. After Katherine’s newborn son disappears into the woods, the family is forced to adapt to their new lifestyle in the wake of this horrifying event.

+ Anya Taylor-Joy is the standout as eldest daughter Thomasin (though I personally can’t get over the name. It just sounds weird). Her putting up with so much crap whilst all this horrible things are (maybe?) happening around her makes it hard to feel anything other than sorry for her
+ Ralph Ineson as William brings a sense of real tragedy to the film. It is clear he is doing his best with what he has, but providing for his family is not easy, least of all his grieving wife, Katherine (Kate Dickie, Game of Thrones). The strong themes of religious rights and faith are expressed well in the dueling ideals of the parents
+ despite taking place almost entirely during the day, the film builds a very tense atmosphere which I could most readily compare to something like Foxcatcher; you know something is going to happen, but you don’t know if it is going to be good or bad, or happen at all. The film is intentionally unclear on a few events, which adds to a few interpretations

– thy film is wrought in ye olde English speak, and thy findeth it hard to make thought of some of ye English words of tongue at times
– even by the end, I just couldn’t decide if the film was cleverly ambiguous, and straight up vague for vague’s sake

> I always love hearing Ralph Ineson’s voice. Ever since he stole the show, so to speak, in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag I have enjoyed even the smallest cameo

Should you see this film: Overall, I liked this film. It was a welcome change from the jump scares and gore of most modern horror movies, but even after finishing I still wanted something more. It will please the more die-hard atmospheric horror fans, and certainly give you something to talk about, but if you are looking for something ‘scary’ rather than ‘off putting’ then give it a miss.

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