So… The Witch. Hm. Hm hm hmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… Huh. Well, I was told it was good. Do I agree?
Yes. I was expecting a solid 9/10 film. What I got was a creeping, twisting, tense family drama cast against the fear and paranoia of the witch scares of Puritan New England. So things I love: psychological horror, 1600s America, witch trials. Things I got: a beautifully weaved psychological study of a puritanical family coming apart at the seams, exasperated by accusations of witchcraft and genuinely bizarre occurrences, written in the genuine tongue of a puritan. The way the character arcs converge is brilliant, speaking as a writer I was immediately depressed after watching it – the narrative is constructed in the perfect way. It is paced to perfection, every element is necessary and it is constantly moving. Seriously, seriously brilliant stuff.
Eggers has pulled off the impossible too, working with both animals AND children, and getting terrific performances from both. Caleb is a standout, his performer delivers a brilliantly real and measured performance, shocking for someone who must be no older than 15… And Black Phillip. Fuck me, that is the creepiest thing. The way it rears upon its hind legs is just uncomfortable, and it has this weird look in its eyes… eeesh.
Anyway, yes, this is a bad review, very aimless and meandering. The ultimate compliment I can give to The Witch is that why I adore it so much completely escapes me. I just can’t put it into words.
Just watch it.