Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Witch 2015 directed by Robert Eggers


An overly devout family, in 1630s New England is too extreme, even for their Puriton town, and are banished to the woods where they build a small farm and live as they see fit. One day youngest child, a baby, suddenly disappears and it is revealed pretty much right away that it is killed and ground up for use by a witch in the woods. This sets in motion a series of accusations, spiritual doubts and strange occult events that end in violence and destruction for all but one member of the clan. 

Made for only 4 million dollars, this movie proves that budget is not everything when it comes to making a great film. Horror movies in general are masters of small budgets but this takes it to another level. The performances are dead on, the cinematography is amazing and the shots are lit entirely with natural light and candlelight. It is slow moving but never dull and relies on creeping you out and disturbing ideas over gore and jump scares. It uses the language of the era it takes place in, which, to be fair, might be hard to understand for many people, and it also goes DEEP into actual witch lore from that period. That was a detail I personally appreciated as someone who finds actual folklore much more fascinating than the water downed versions of tales we have to suffer through at Halloween every year. The use of animals in this film is pretty horrifying. I never though a bunny rabbit woudl be the stuff nightmares by simply looking into the camera. 

While the fact of witches existing or not is never a question in the film, who they are is left mysterious and also why they are attacking the family is up for debate. My take was it was the father's pride that got them banished and starving that attracted evil and doomed his own family. The lead character, Thomasin, played by Anya Taylor-Joy is the soul survivor - but only because she surrenders to Satan in a scene that is too wonderfully disturbing, subtle and visual to describe here. 

Do you want to live deliciously? See this movie. 


T' said...

Sounds interesting. Not a big fan of horror movies because, well, they work too WELL on me. Still, sounds like they did their research. I am interested in a movie that uses natural light. Never saw "Barry Lyndon," which is another one.

Behemoth media said...

Barry Lyndon looks great and while slow as well, does hold one's attention. This one was a nice surprise. The director was supposed ot be making a remake of Nosferatu... last year. No sign of that yet.