The horror movie of 2016 is now available to see at home on Blu-Ray and iTunes. No film in recent memory has haunted me more than Robert Egger’s The Witch. Set in the 1600s just prior to the infamous Salem witch trials, this New England horror piece will get inside and not leave. Unless you regurgitate a rotten apple. That might happen.
I loved this movie so much I custom made some Witch themed playmobil figures and made a small ad. Click below for our review of the film, and the fun we had with the custom toys.
Eggers has a steadfast dedication to making this film as authentic as he could. The dialogue is formed from poems, songs, and literature from New England in the time period. To that degree, sometimes it’s a little difficult to follow the dialogue. I even watched it once with subtitles (which helped a bit) but between the accents and the unfamiliar vocabulary, there’s a little bit of effort to keep up. I found this layer of authenticity especially successful in drawing me. I felt like I was witnessing something more authentic, rather than watching a movie crafted for metered reactions and jump scares.
I can understand where a portion of the horror-movie going audience wouldn’t get what they’re expecting from this movie. I’m not trying to make excuses for the movie, I wish there was an easy way to set audiences’ expectations. Or just not worry about it.
The story follows a New England family as they are excommunicated from their village. They venture out to the edge of the wilderness to try and make their way. A series of maladies keeps befalling the family, and it gets more and more dark and twisted. In a lot of boogeyman, or otherwise supernatural movies, there’s some type of morality tale. You shouldn’t disrespect nature, or you shouldn’t engage in immoral activities etc. But the family didn’t really do anything inherently wrong. They all had flaws, sure, but nothing warranting their destruction. This is another need for a feeling of voyeuristic authenticity. Imagine a family attacked by a bear. You don’t look for rhyme or reason in something like that.
The cinematography is sublime. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, but it plays a big part of the composition. Like Revenant, a lot of care was spent utilizing as much natural lighting as possible. Sure they made windows a bit bigger, and candles a bit brighter (triple wicks) but there is a smooth organic feel to the light that adds to the overall authenticity and dread.
Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Thomasin was amazing. She has a powerful authenticity that draws you in. Keep an eye on her, she is a superstar. Also a fantastic model as well. I’m hoping one day to have the opportunity to do a model shoot with her sometime. There I said it.
I really savored Eggers’s dedication to making the film the best he could. And it payed off. He won the Best Director award at Sundance. I’m looking forward to what he has next.
There are a handful of bonus features on the disc. I liked watching the live panel with Eggers, Taylor-Joy, and two historians. They attended an early screening of the film in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s great seeing the real personalities from Anya and Robert, and seeing the joy and excitement the film brought the historians was fulfilling. They’ve dedicated their life to the history and preservation of this period of our history, and they loved how it influenced the film.
I also enjoyed the Primal Folklore feature, and flipping through the images in the design gallery. There’s also a director commentary with Eggers.
The Witch is haunting, it’s eerie, and it’s sick. Watch it with zero expectations, but dig, dig deeper and enjoy it.
Playnnobil The VVitch
Here is our spoof ad for the Witch. I stuck mostly to jokes from the trailer, but there are a few references that make sense after seeing the film. So come back