Does anyone care anymore? I know I don’t. Here’s my review of THE VVITCH anyway. So last month, right?
Very few themes in horror films scare me like Satanism does. I mean, maybe it’s my Mexican side, but that shit can happen, right? Probably not but there’s a small part of me that does NOT want to find out.
So THE WITCH is a period piece set in Puritan times, when crazy things like the Salem Witch Trials were a thing. Like if they had Twitter back then, it would be the number one topic for sure. #witchlivesmatter #allwitchesmustdie #prettysuremysisterisawitch The insane paranoia over being as pious as possible while watching out for that sneaky Lucifer had to make for a tough life, what with also keeping up with a farm and children.
The film opens with a family telling a town they can stuff it, and the town telling them to get lost. So they head out on their own and make a home near the outskirts of a creepy, dark forest. I personally would have chosen a clearing a little farther away from such a place, but then nothing would happen and there would never be a movie made out of it. Anyway, from this opening sequence of the family of six departing (mom, dad, weird-looking twins, an infant and a girl who shall be a woman soon), nothing major is happening yet but you can’t help but feel extremely unsettled. The color scheme is dank, full of drab greys, and the score, by composer Mark Korven, is reminiscent of what the band Goblin did for Argento films. Menacing string instruments with a chorus that sounds like a cult in hysterics. You could be watching a black screen with this score playing and automatically want to run out of the theater from fright. You could, not me. This movie was only getting better.
As you may or may not have seen in the preview for this film, a certain small family member goes missing and it’s either a wolf or a witch that snatched it up. Figure it out. This movie isn’t called THE WOLF. From here the film deals with the rapid progression of the family dealing with heavy loss, not only of their child, but of their failing crops. Things are just not right out there near the woods. An evil is looming over them and your spidey senses will feel it. The heavy, moody atmosphere of repression and sin grows more and more apparent with every scene.
Yeah yeah, so everyone is going to talk about the music and the atmosphere of THE WITCH. But can we talk about the acting for a minute? Because every single member of this cast is on point. It’s a little ridiculous just how good everyone is, and I’m sure a lot of that credit can go to director Robert Eggers. It would be very easy for these performances to get stagey, due to the dialogue and intensity of scenes, so it’s clear he knew how to harness these performers and bring out their absolute best.
There has been some debate on whether or not this film is truly frightening, and I really think that depends on the viewer. For some, the style may be too subtle to really scare them. For others, the way the film gets into your psyche on an insipid level will leave them unnerved. It’s the type of horror you don’t see as often anymore. Nowadays, in non-Puritan times, so many major-release horror films are all about cheap scares just to make you jump. THE WITCH successfully creates its horror in the same vein as classics like ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE SHINING. Whether or not you’re scared while watching this film, there’s no denying its quality. 8 BANANAS outta 10.
Written by: Sonia ThrillMe Campbell