This week we finally caught up on The Witch, a low budget horror film we missed at the cinema, due to its limited release, but had heard plenty of good things so wanted to see it!
Now if you are expecting a gorefest with jumps and scares this probably isn’t the horror film for you. This is more a supernatural film within a historical period drama from writer/director Robert Eggers. This is reiterated with the film’s full title as The VVitch: A New-England Folktale!
The film opens as we learn of a puritan family being banished from their village in 17th Century New England.
The family led by William (Ralph Ineson) and his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) with their children; Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy); Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw); Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) leave the church and village to set up a farm on the edge of a nearby dark, secluded forest!
Soon, Katherine gives birth to a 5th child, Samuel during the time which William sets up the farm, growing crops and getting other supplies from their goats, including a menacing Black Phillip, who Mercy and Jonas play with and also claims speaks to them!
With their new life in swing, Thomasin whilst out with Samuel plays a hiding game. In the split seconds she covers her face, he mysteriously disappears.
We learn he has been taken by an old witch (91-year-old actress Bathsheba Garnett) into the forest, where she kills him to make a flying ointment for her body.
The disappearance of Samuel will slowly tear the family apart, with events worsening, the crops fail to yield good corn; Katherine is not involved with her family, instead just crying and praying all day long and William steals a silver cup to pay for hunting equipment and implies his daughter was responsible.
Things worsen when it is overheard that the family will send Thomasin away to serve another family. Caleb runs off into the forest with her to see if the traps that William has laid have secured any food, which will take pressure off Thomasin leaving.
Whilst out, the 2 get split up and heartbreaking for us, Fowler the family hunting dog is found killed =(
Caleb is taken away by a much younger version of the Witch (Sarah Stephens) so when Thomasin returns home alone, the family believe even more so that she must be a witch. She has not made things easier for herself by making threats to Mercy and Jonas about what she would do if they told on her.
Events will continue to occur until the Witch has got what it wants, but where is it’s source coming from, is it really Thomasin or one of the other children? Could it be William who lead them into the forest who is Satan?
The film will answer all these questions in at tightly packed 93 minutes.
This period of witches has been served well in film, most notably the 1968 classic Witchfinder General to the more recent Ben Wheatley film, A Field in England and this is certainly no exception.
All the cast are exceptional, this really is an impressive debut from writer/director Eggers and we look forward to seeing what he does next. The score is equally as impressive as is the set design and the creatures in this film, from a Hare; A Raven and even Black Phillip the goat add to the imagery in this psychological horror.
So much so, Black Phillip even has his own social media pages including a Twitter account (@BlackPhillip) because of the lasting impression he has left on film fans!
You can watch the trailer here at the films website:
Have you a favourite Witch film? Did you enjoy the Witch? What has been your favourite new Horror film of recent years? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films
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