The Witch follows a puritan family exiled from their village to the edges of a forest. The directorial debut for Eggers was nothing short of intense. This is what people were expecting when The Village, by M. Night Shyamalan, came out. Don’t get me wrong though, I liked The Village. Although, The Witch shifts from a thriller to a horror relatively quickly and keeps us guessing as to what is going on until the absolute end, resulting in an intense experience.
The historical period piece has an amazing level of authenticity. Everything from the garb, to the vocabulary, to the dark lit misty ambiance, takes us back to the 17th century and traps us there. You can tell that everyone involved contributed to create this level of emersion.
The theme that resonated with me the most was the play on the seven deadly sins, or perhaps an antecedent. Specifically, the role of sin and punishment in the family’s world, mixed with the mysteries of the unknown add further to emersion. The inexplicable nature of the 17th century world makes certain reactions by the characters explainable, or at least understandable.
This film could be viewed a few different ways. One way, as a period piece about a family that has a run in with a witch with heavy religious overtones. A reimagined metaphor, or old wives tale, to help explain tragedy, misfortune, and death in a world that lacks rigorous scientific analysis and is flush with the wrath of god. Or, some other way… The film left me trying to put together the pieces and I am not sure I fully absorbed everything that happened.
Directed by: Robert Eggers
Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke
Written by: Robert Eggers
Score by: Mark Korven
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Runtime: 1h 32m
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Distributed by: A24