The Witch (2015)
• Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, and Harvey Scrimshaw
• Directed by Robert Eggers
• With an unnerving atmosphere propelled by the historically accurate take on witch mythology in colonial New England, The Witch is one of the best horror movies in recent years. In one of A24’s most haunting films, a family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession (IMDb). What The Witch masterfully does is create this tense atmosphere that builds more and more off of it for the entire length of the film. Whether it be the surreal imagery, the slow and deliberate camerawork, or the eerie score, all of it is used to envelop the viewer in a horrifying, puritan nightmare. One of the best parts about The Witch is ultimately its setting. It is obvious that the director did a lot of research into the time period, and executed his ideas with striking confidence. The performances are pitch-perfect, and were very believable of the characters that the actors played. Focusing on that setting aspect, the actors also have a very potent, period-authentic accent and language. The cinematography is remarkably enchanting, as cinematographer Jarin Blaschke shot most of the film with natural light. This allowed The Witch to have that noticeably, gloomy euphoria that solidifies the film’s nightmare-like atmosphere. Ultimately, the film is rather ambiguous as to whether or not the events occur in the manner you see them, but that’s the beauty of it. Like religion itself, The Witch is open to interpretation. To me, The Witch is brilliantly shot, well-acted, and fascinatingly told. It’s by far one of the best horror films to come out in the past several years, and The Witch shows that A24 really knows how to do a job well done!
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