The Witch (stylized onscreen as The VVitch: A New England Folktale) is a 2015 American-Canadian period supernatural horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson. The Witch follows a Puritan family encountering forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm, forces that may be either real or imagined.
In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelop a farmer, his wife, and their children when the youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin, the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy and Jonas suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan's faith, loyalty, and love to one another.
Why It Rocks
- It makes you feel sympathy for how the family was living back in 1660's New England and how they believed in witchcraft. It's also a great metaphor for religious fear.
- Like many of A24's films, it has an original, well-crafted storyline and plot.
- The film boasts very strong performances, especially from Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin and the child actors.
- It relies more on dread and slow-building horror rather than cheap jump-scares. It also uses jump-cuts that show something calm, such as the peek-a-boo scene with the baby and Thomasin. It also keeps the viewer at the edge of suspense with its intense moments and dark imagery.
- It does a good job of not showing the titular Witch and not revealing it until the end. It also does a good job of only showing supernatural elements subtly.
- The film also uses dialogue at appropriate times. It even uses 17th-century dialogue, which must've been a HARD thing to do.
- Interesting use of color palettes, giving it a darker tone with its black-and-white feel, even when it's actually not shot in black-and-white.
- Haunting musical score that only brings suspense to the top.
- Although the father has some mean spirited moments, he is shown to have some regret for his actions, like in the scene where he confesses to his sins at night while chopping wood.
- There are a ton of extremely unexpected deaths throughout the film, especially since all of the characters have a ton of character development.
- Like every horror film by A24, it has an extremely scary ending in it.
- The film can have some melodramatic moments.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 90% based on 315 reviews, with an average rating of 7.82/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers." Metacritic reports a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".