Thursday, February 18, 2016

Movie Review: The Witch

This New England folktale shows the difficulty of settling a new land, the delusion of blind devotion, and the troubles of an isolated youth. The movie moves slow with brief disturbing scenes to bring the viewer into the plot but overall amounts to a more confusion than actual horror. There are certainly things throughout that will leave viewers cringing in their seats, or on the couch since this film seems to have trouble showing in all theaters and may be more of a rental. The horror is certainly there and the Writer/Director Robert Eggers does plenty to ratchet up the tension but falls short of a complete story.

With only a family in the midst of the horror, the characters are a majority of kids with the two parents being Game of Thrones alumni. Kate Dickie plays the mother Katherine who slowly devolves into insanity as her family is slowly picked off by malevolent forces. Ralph Ineson plays the father whose faith is out of control. His deep croaking voice delivers dialogue in such a profound way and worked perfectly in this haunting setting.

The kids really stole the show though. Anya Taylor-Joy is a talent to watch as Thomasin. She took the plot on her shoulders and was brilliant throughout. Harvey Scrimshaw as Caleb captured the horror of not only being lost in the woods but being forsaken by his merciless God and banished to Hell. The two twins were extra creepy playing around with the goat Black Phillip, super weird.

The colonial atmosphere was certainly a new take on horror. I found the utter helplessness of the characters and their inability to contact others an added horror to the film. The shots were great and the images of trees stretching made it claustrophobia and even creepier. The Olde English the characters spoke was hard to understand at points but none of the dialogue felt forced and all the actors did a brilliant job with it.

This film follows through on some horror but wastes a lot of what it earned with a convoluted ending. I was entranced by the trailer and great reviews so I went into this movie with high expectations but at the same time I knew its independent nature would tend toward a more slow moving haunt as opposed to fast paced thrills. I was left contemplating this film and may drop another paragraph later when I have time to think about it.   

After sleeping on it, I think the movie is certainly chilling but doesn't deliver by the end leaving viewers wanting more, which may have been the intention of the first time writer/director.

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