The Witch

Dylan Rupptrecht

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Terror inflicts the lives of a banished, Puritan family in Robert Eggers’ debut film, The Witch. After a religious-fueled disagreement with a New England settlement’s governor, William (Ralph Ineson) must attempt to sustain life for his family, outside of his former town’s walls, and on the outskirts of the dark woods, alone. When the family’s infant son mysteriously vanishes, tensions surmount as the eldest daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is accused of being a witch.

Dark grey skies set the desolate tone in this horror pic that never lets off the pedal of tension. Coupled with an equally eerie score, the film meticulously picks at you until the earth-shattering terror on these poor people’s faces align with your internal dread.

The Witch sticks out as one of several recent art house horror films to have made it to the big screen nationally; it’s in the realm of films such as It Follows and Walking Home Alone at Night.

This new breed of horror is bringing style and freshness to a stale movie genre. That’s why The Witch feels so uniquely gripping. Eggers is not afraid to teeter between cliché tropes and originality, as he instruments what would be expected in a movie vaguely premised on the Salem witch trials.

What makes this film shine is the undeniable performance of the entire cast, who do well matching the authentic dialogue of the day-and-age with raw, theologically invested emotions. It’s a spectacle watching the change in dynamics between each family member as the devil wreaks havoc in his cunning ways.

If for nothing else, then see the film for its realistic perspective. The film stands as a pretty accurate depiction of the Puritan psyche, held captive mostly by the strict, somewhat oppressive beliefs that stem from the Roman Catholic Church; there seems to be a secondary issue at play here besides the obvious, looming evil that dwells in the woods.

A scene from The Witch  (AP Photo)

A scene from The Witch
(AP Photo)

Ultimately, The Witch serves as an audaciously dramatic and suspenseful portrayal of what living behind the heavy religious lens of a Puritan settler would be like.

It will be exciting to see what Eggers hopes to achieve next in his pursuits; with The Witch he has definitely set the bar high for himself.

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The Witch