The Witch: A New England Folktale is a superb supernatural horror that calls to the area’s history, secrets, and darkest fears. It is the directorial debut of Robert Eggers, winning him a directing award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
I was wary about going to see a dark horror at the theater – more wary of the disappointment usually felt. But this one did not fail to deliver. There are no predictable jump-scare moments, no eye rolls at the dialogue. Instead I found an intelligent horror that felt like a cross between The Crucible and The Omen.
A family of seven is banished from a New England town and they set off to homestead on the edge of a black forest. Almost immediately, the infant disappears and the audience is left to fret over a short scene with a naked old woman who is crunching up something in a barrel.
Filmed in waning light with a constant grey sky and with an eerie music score, strange events continue to occur to the family until the eldest daughter Thomasin, portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy, is accused of witchcraft.
Is she guilty?
The Witch describes the worst fears of the colonizing pilgrims and puritans – witchcraft and devilry. The dialogue, the voices, the belief sets – incredibly authentic. And the acting is superb. This is highly suggested if you’re in for a good fright.