The Witch (2016)


vvitch

The Witch – horror film review

I was pretty excited to see The Witch – aka ‘The VVitch A New England Folklore’. I’d heard good things about it and knew it was a bit different – not the usual format where kids draw crayon pictures of ghosts and a cat can frighten its owner by hiding next to the refrigerator.

The story, set in 1630, centers around a Puritan family banished from their plantation. They set up home miles away on the edge of a creepy forest and at first, though isolated, they seem to be doing okay. But after their baby mysteriously vanishes and their crops begin to fail, the religious family blame witchcraft and and begin to turn on one another.

thewitch

This film won’t be for everyone. I knew from the (fucking annoying) whispers and giggles in the cinema that many people (who I wanted to maim and kill) weren’t enjoying it.

The main reason for this perhaps is that the film is atmospheric. Well I enjoyed it so I call it atmospheric. People that don’t will call it boring. And the characters speak in oldy worldy language which does take getting used to, but adds to the authentic feel of the story. Interestingly, most of the dialogue was taken from real life journals and accounts from that time.

Though The Witch isn’t a jumpy film, nor hugely gory (it has its moments), it is fairly horrible. There was a constant feeling of dread and I’m certain every dynamic of family life  (not just the witchcraft and evil bits) were written to screw with our minds. It’s the kind of movie you watch with a mildly horrified look on your face but in a GOOD WAY, not in a Movie 43 way.

A dark cloud looms over the family from the very beginning. And though the witchy bits are scary (make no mistake about it), the way the family are with each other is equally disturbing.

The acting was brilliant, no big names but I’m pretty sure the mum was/is in Game of Thrones and hilariously the dad was played by Finchy from The Office (any fans of The Office will find this amusing trust me). But for the record – he was great. I never even imagined him talking about kettles and pubs or throwing kettles over pubs.

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The children were all good too, especially the eldest daughter. And something must be said about the score, written by Mark Korven. I like scores anyway but this one really grabbed me, it was freaky! Truly bloodcurdling and the great thing about a creepy score is that you can’t close your ears.

The Witch did play on my mind a little, later that night (always a good sign) and I’m looking forward to a re-watch in the near future. I admired its ability to be different and original and I thought the writing, direction, acting and score were all really, really good. Not to mention the constant tension and generally screwed up feel.

Though it wasn’t the scariest film ever and if anything I would have enjoyed a few more in-your-face scary bits because when they were there, they were bloody good. But the dark atmosphere and ‘feeling of dread’ was present throughout and to be fair, it’s harder to achieve that than cheap tactic scares anyway. Not that I have anything against cheap tactic scares, generally I do quite like them. What can I say, I’m obviously a philistine.

But if you’re a fan of horror movies then this is a must watch. I’ve seen a million horror movies but still never witnessed anything quite like The Witch. And if you enjoy historical films or fiction then I’d highly recommend it. Yes it’s a horror film, but it’s a genuine horror film that takes care to do its New England folk tale justice.

I think writer/director Robert Eggers must have said “okay, let’s give them a real experience of 17th century family life, religion and witchcraft accusations”.

And he did just that.

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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80 Responses to The Witch (2016)

  1. jwforeva says:

    It sucks that it isn’t showing in my country and I really have no idea why. It sounds fantastic, and your review really painted it to be that exact sort of psychological dread that plays with your mind,I also appreciate the fact that this ine deals with witchcraft and new england’s religious/puritanical aversion towards witchcraft. vvicked review Emma,I enjoyed it!! 🙂 I wanna find a way to watch this somehow!

    • emmakwall says:

      I love that “vvicked review” – so clever!! 🙂

      Thanks Jia, it means an awful lot I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

      Oh no I can’t believe it might not be showing in Singapore! 😦 I really hope you get a chance to watch it at some point. Definitely a lot of psychological dread and felt very true to the time as well 🙂

      How are you?

      • jwforeva says:

        I’m good! What about you?

        I’m just too excited to watch it, you know because I hate horror movies and how much they normally creep the hell out of me, and so I was really intrigued with I’ve heard about the witch so far.

  2. Urspo says:

    Witches have fascinated us since ancient times. I suppose they never go out of style for movies.

    • emmakwall says:

      The writer/director is really into all that kind of thing, if you check out his IMDB page you’ll see other dark fairy tale / Edgar Allen Poe type stuff!

  3. I cannot wait to see this film. Everything I’ve read makes me think I’m going to really like it, your post included. Unfortunately for me it doesn’t have a release date in Korea yet, so it maybe some months yet. Great review Emma, makes me even more excited.

    • emmakwall says:

      Yay!!! Thanks Richard 🙂

      I felt exactly the same as you, very excited and sure I’d like it (I was right on both counts!!)

      I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any release date news in Korea, I really hope you get to see it soon and you can let me know what you thought! 🙂

  4. table9mutant says:

    Dammit! I badly want to see this. So…. I’ve read none of your review. 😉 Is it worth spending money on to see it now?

    • emmakwall says:

      I totally understand Miss Mutant!!!

      Yes it’s worth the money (maybe even a Candy King cup as a treat) but beware of one thing – this film isn’t going to be enjoyed by everyone and my viewing was kinda ruined in places by giggling, whispering etc. So sometimes it’s preferable just to watch at home!

      • table9mutant says:

        This is true…. I hate when idiots in the cinema ruin things! I went to The Boy yesterday and SO MANY phones kept being used. Grrrrr

        • emmakwall says:

          PHONES!!!!!! That isn’t even funny, NO-ONE wants to see the annoying glow of your phone screen, or hear it making noises or hear ANY NOISES THAT AREN’T ON SCREEN!

          I’m trying to think of the worst experience ever but to be honest, there are so many. I’m a little bit neurotic over noise as well lol.

          Was The Boy good? 🙂

          • table9mutant says:

            My hubby threw his empty drink (still had ice cubes in it, though) at two girls who were constantly on their phones at a movie once. Lol. I really enjoyed The Boy! Oh so predictable but, well, I have much lower standards for horror. 😉 It was a fun popcorn flick.

            • emmakwall says:

              Haha! I do really hate people who talk and bug me in the cinema so bravo to your hubby!!! 🙂

              The Boy looks good! Definitely one I’d like to see 🙂

  5. I’m definitely going to check this out as soon as it’s released on dvd. Especially since it takes place in my neck of the woods! Sorry Ems. I couldn’t resist!
    #hugs

  6. This is something I want to check out. It sounds totally different than most horror movies. I bet you were wishing the witch would make the annoying people, in the cinema, disappear! 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha, I was indeed! Great comment 🙂

      If I’d been a witch I sooo would have made them disappear!!

      Do you think you’ll get to see this Paul? 🙂

      • Yes, I think I will be able to see it. I’ll probably have to pay to rent it eventually, but it might be worth it. It looks like it’s already out of the theater near me. As soon as I can rent it, I will check it out.

        • emmakwall says:

          Ooh, I can’t wait!! Though I shouldn’t build it up too much as it might be a disappointment lol

          And we still have The Little Mermaid to hunt down! 🙂

  7. vinnieh says:

    I like things that are a bit different from the usual movie crows, so this film seems ideal for me. Great review Emma.

  8. theipc says:

    I want to see this!!!

  9. Won’t go touching this with the proverbial barge pole. I poo my pants in scary films and don’t sleep for days! I blame Ghostbusters when I was 4 years old, or maybe Men in Black. Great write up though, very amusing! Would love to see FInchy in a dramatic role, just, minus the horror

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks James! Very much 🙂

      I’m so glad you liked the bit about Finchy, between you and me that was a MAJOR highlight for me!! I only watched the trailer the morning before I went to see it and I was like, oh my god that’s Chris Finch. His voice is so distinctive haha.

      Aww you cutie pie!! I’ve always been a bit of a wimp too but for some weird reasons I love scaring myself.

      Now I’m 30 I finally can watch stuff and still turn my bedroom light off later (though sometimes I leave the TV on…)

      I have had a few break-throughs in recent years, for example I watched Black Swan BY MYSELF. I felt as hard as a Mitchell brother 🙂

      Will you watch the new ‘female’ Ghostbusters or will that be even scarier for all the wrong reasons?!

      • I won’t go near a horror film of my own will! Ghostbusters is actually growing on me, I don’t think it is necessary but I also don’t think it looks terrible! Haha

  10. mikeladano says:

    This sounds good. I’m going to keep an eye open for it. I’ve never heard of it before!

    • emmakwall says:

      I only heard of it recently too Mike! It’s definitely worth watching but….maybe don’t take your dad to this one hee hee 🙂 Thanks for your comment as ever 🙂

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