The Witch

Robert Eggers (2015)

Last Featured: Feb. 14, 2017

Image Credits: A24/Universal Pictures

William and his family, banished from their village for practicing a religion not in line with the norm, set out on their own. When their infant disappears from their new settlement, it seems there might be a witch about.

Horror movies are not our stock in trade. We watch them, and sometimes we like them, but there must be something special for us to bring them to the table. The Witch, an eerie and nerve-wracking tale set in colonial New England, has that in spades.

The film is inspired by the period of American history when witches were feared as a dangerous reality and strict religious beliefs ruled the day. The film’s final panel informs us that much of the narrative’s events and dialogue are pulled from actual records from early New England. We are dropped right into this time long gone, and if you don’t struggle against the thick, accented dialogue, you will be pulled into the story by the rich aesthetic, haunting score, and confident direction.

The Witch follows English settler William and his family after they are banished from their village for their unorthodox religious practices. They try to restart their lives on a new farm in the isolated and alien American countryside, but something seems to be working against them. Crops fail, the children act out, and their newborn disappears. Tensions rise as the family tries to uncover the mystery that plagues them. Is there a witch dwelling in the surrounding forest? Or is it all just religion pushed to obsessive extremism?

With minimal gore and authentic production design, The Witch is an engrossing horror film that you won’t soon forget.