Posted Mar 10 2016

The Witch - This Goat Rocks The Blackness Of Your Soul (Or Does It?)

Dir: Robert Eggers

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

It’s refreshing to see a contemporary horror movie that is anything but contemporary – and a welcome relief from the Blumhouse onslaught and all its incumbent standard-issue tricks. Eggers instead takes us back to 1630s rural New England (his film is sub-titled A New-England Legend) and revolves around a family of English immigrants to the New World, devoutly Puritan in their view of the world, but nonetheless cast out of their similarly religious community. Forced to eke out a living on a cold, dank small farm on the edge of a dread-filled forest, the family slowly comes undone when their youngest mysteriously disappears whilst in the care of Thomasin (an excellent Taylor-Joy.)

What follows is a descent into communal madness that could be a mixture of burgeoning sexuality, religious hysteria, or just possibly that mysterious woman in the woods. Hell, it could even be that creepy rabbit. Possibly even the goat. Either way it’s an impressive debut from Eggers, who leads on period atmosphere before bringing on the tension and terror, all awash with the grammar of classic fairy tales. Grimm indeed.

At times the film’s dialogue jars – modernisms seem to crop up amongst all the “thee”s and “thither”s – but the filmmaker knows how to bring a sense of impending dread and has a keen sense of a genuinely haunting, disturbing image.

Abetted by a troubling choral score from Mark Korven, The Witch slowly, subtly beguiles. In other words – yes, better than Sinister 2!


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