Fear can manifest itself in so many ways. While not being scared is an ideal situation, there is some reason why we still seek it out, but only in a controlled environment. That is why we enjoy places like haunted houses, or of course the scary movie, it gives us our dose of frights. Our fears change though, it’s not always as simple as the creature under the bed, or the creepy clown with the ax, fear is as much personal as it is a group thing. While there are plenty of movies that label themselves “scary” there are only a few that truly are. Enter, “The Witch”.
Growing up we all heard stories about witches. We heard them in school as we learned about the “Salem Witch Trials” or in the stories we told around the campfire. Those stories were told to scare us, or maybe to warn us from the mistakes of the past, and to remind us what could happen. William (Ralph Ineson) and his family are banished for their beliefs, or at least we believe so. They soon leave the safety of their town’s walls and set up residence near a forest. William and his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their five children want to live their life alone with their beliefs. Everything is normal until the families youngest child goes missing while under the care of Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who is the oldest. While the family seeks answers, life goes on, as they must still survive, as their food is starting to run low. Soon other strange things start to happen, as the oldest son, Caleb (Harvey Scimshaw), also goes missing while with Thomasin in the forest. It is after that the family starts to question things, and what or who really resides in the forest that they call home.
The film takes place in 1630, and uses transcripts of a situation similar to what is portrayed in the film. That element of an eerie feeling of realism adds to the terror of the film. Written and directed by Robert Eggers, what you don’t see is as creepy as what is seen to bring out that uneasy feeling. This movie doesn’t as much as scare you as makes you feel uncomfortable with what you are seeing. While the setting is unsettling, the performances are incredible, especially that of Anya Taylor-Joy, who as Thomasin shines, and makes you look forward to what else she has to offer. Combine the images with the atmospheric score by Mark Korven, and you have a film that will leave you thinking about it long after the movie is over. This is not one of those films for everyone, but the ones that it is for, will enjoy it. After hearing about this film for a year, I was looking forward to finally seeing it. Through all the hype and praise, there is a very well done film, the kind that gives you that rush of watching something disturbing, then you will devour “The Witch” as much as it devours you.