Creepy in all the right places.
The Witch is something out of a folk tale – well, because it actually is inspired by a number of compiled folk tales. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Thomasin, whose mother (Kate Dickie) and father (Ralph Ineson) are struggling with the idea that Thomasin might be a witch.
I was skeptical in the beginning: it was a little slow, and a little confusing (you have to turn on your Old English dictionary, which, by the way the cast did an AMAZING job with!) but once you’re in the right state of mind, it’s easy to get lost in – for all the right reasons. Dickie is all kinds of crazy as Thomasin’s mother, and Thomasin’s twin siblings, played by Ellie Granger and Lucas Dawson, are disturbingly good in their respective roles as Mercy and Jonas.
I have to address the elephant in the room: this movie has been loved by critics, and mostly hated by the general audience. I think so many people go into this movie with the mentality that this is a “horror movie” in the modern sense, as in the kind of perverse horror, perhaps, you’d see in something like Paranormal Activity or The Ring. This movie does such a good job of straddling multiple nightmare-inducing situations, and I think the general audience needs to go into the movie without expecting your stereotypical terror. This is a kind of movie that is so disturbing, so ethereal, so subtly terrifying that you can’t help but leave the theatre by the end of the film…just shuddering. It was the kind of horror that make you feel shame and guilt, not the kind that has you checking for monsters in your closet or under your bed for. Don’t get me wrong: the actual witch(es) have their moments that’ll make you say ‘ick,’ not so much have you screaming at the top of your lungs in sheer terror.
The only thing I’d fault the movie for is, as I mentioned earlier, is how slow it is in the beginning. There are also some parts you may find yourself a little confused by, namely because there seems to be this slight jumping around (I couldn’t figure out why the family was leaving their plantation for the edge of the woods – I had to think about for a bit, but it made sense not too long after).
But it’s a minor bump – that’s why I’m giving it four demonic black goats out of five.