Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger.
Director: Robert Eggers
Screenplay: Robert Eggers
This film based on a 1960's New England folklore about the Witch in the woods is good, very good. A time when if you are not baptised or sin without forgiveness you are damned, a time when you could make a pact with the devil himself, and a time when even your own family are the ones who can bring sin upon your house.
The Witch has a sickening feeling of dread, but you don't quite understand that that is what you are feeling until it is too late. The film kind of starts you off with creepiness within the first 5 minutes as the infant son, Samuel, is taken by the Witch in the woods. It is disturbing, but its matter of factness feels as though the film is not going to present anything in a typical build up kind of way. Which I suppose is why it takes me so off guard when it actually does follow a horror style of anticipation later.
Back to the dread, somehow Eggers seeps this into the fabric of the film. I am going to place this down to his amazing ability to use sound to heighten this feeling. The creepy thing is that it throws you whenever Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) are playing. These young twins are so unsettling on screen; from their way of dress, movement, lack of care for authority, and their twin like connection. Eggers was able to direct these kids in a way that makes their everyday child antics disturb your calm but very, very slowly. That could possibly be because we are waiting for the Witch instead of looking closer to home.
The cast is fabulous here with Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin who is the eldest daughter to William (Ralph Ineson), and Katherine (Kate Dickie), and their oldest son, Caleb played by Harvey Scrimshaw. They all work so well here from their believability of living in the time period and gorgeous accents—that you eventually get the knack of understanding them. But really the highlights are Taylor-Joy and Ineson, they make this film sing and you so darely root for them.
This film is a gift, it captures the time period and grounds a folklore in reality. Watching this poor christian family isolated with a demonic threat on their front porch is a times hard to watch. The fear of sin, Satan, and hell is what drives this family instead of the comfort of God, Jesus, and heaven which I suppose is reality of that time—and really it seems that sin is all too easy to fall into. If you have not seen The Witch, please do take the time to watch it.