Already this year, we have experienced a few horror movies that haven’t quite pushed the boundaries or quenched our appetite. The failures of ‘The Forest’ and ‘The Boy’ in terms of box-office and critical reception have already dragged horror into the mire of mediocrity for the year of 2016. Alas, we may have a saviour in this low budget horror titled ‘The Witch’. After debuting at Sundance Film Festival last year, word of mouth spread about this incredible piece of work. Waiting for a couple of months for its release, the film didn’t disappoint in the slightest. In fact, I became even more interested in the film once I saw it.
Set in the 1700’s New England, our onscreen family are exiled from their village due to the crime of prideful conceit. Following their banishment, they are forced to settle in the countryside near a large forest. From day one, life is turned upside down for the family as strange things start to occur and members of the family start to disappear. Once their new born son, Thomas, disappears one afternoon, turmoil and confusion plague the family’s camp. As terror and doubt creep in, the family quickly turn on each other as they desperately run out of food. While their crops fail to grow during the day, something comes visiting during the night and terrorizes them.
Director Robert Eggers has delivered us one of the most frightening and messed up horror movies that I have encountered. His sleek and clever play of the camera has produced one of the best looking horror movies for years. Delightfully teasing the audience throughout its short running time, the film builds up pace and tension in the perfect way. Only being his first feature film in the director’s chair, Robert Eggers has quickly become someone to keep an eye on in the near future.
The cast has a perfect balance of experience and inexperience. Mother and Father played by Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie who have both appeared in ‘Game of Thrones’ are accompanied by their children that have little to no experience in front of the camera. The performances the whole ensemble produce is brilliant, especially the children’s due to their inexperience. The task that they are summoned is a huge one, and they pull it off with ease. The only problem the cast have to deal with is the script; albeit, it’s not a bad script at all, but a few parts of the dialogue could be improved slightly to make the film even more perfect than it is.
Overall, ‘The Witch’ is a stunning piece of work. Visually, the film is breath-taking to look at. The brilliant build-up of tension and horror makes this by far the best horror movies this year so far. The insane climax will leave you wondering what the hell you just watched. For me, that is the best way to leave the cinema. Its still been quite a few days since I watched the movie, and I’m still thinking about it all the time; 4.5 out of 5 stars for ‘The Witch’.