The Witch (or to give it its proper title; The VVitch: A New England Folktale) is an unnerving horror film from Robert Eggers, set in the rarely seen time period of America in the 1630s. The film follows a group of English settlers who are banished from their Puritan community over a religious dispute (it seems they’re too religious for the religious crazies), leaving them to set up a farm in the desolate and unforgiving New England countryside. They’re soon tormented by evil forces from the woods, sending them spiralling into madness, paranoia, and religious fervour.
Jack says: The VVitch is a slow-burn horror akin to ‘Hereditary’, and it is one of those films that sticks with you long after you’ve seen it (I can still hear Black Philip). The most startling thing about it is the insane level of detail. The ye olde language is initially tough to follow but then it just clicks, and you too will be telling your loved ones to “come hither” and saying “thy” this and “thy” that. But visually it’s incredibly impressive too, seemingly filmed entirely in moody natural light in some of the creepiest woods I’ve ever seen on film.
At its core it’s a film about religious paranoia and burgeoning womanhood and femininity. Thomasin (Anna Taylor-Joy) has to come to terms with the limited path she has available to her in life, as well as the suspicions of her family for simply growing up. The final scene is a powerful ode to rejecting the norms, finding your self-determination, and just living your best life, basically. Or it could be about a number of other things. The film is open to interpretation more than most. Watch and draw your own conclusions. Just keep an eye on that goat.
Becca says: I kept hearing about how creepy this film was, so I was prepared for a spook. I’ve got to say, I was a teensy little disappointed. I think it was a good film – it was well made, I saw what he was going for, and I enjoyed the setting (a time period we don’t get a lot of in cinema), but it just didn’t get my heart racing.
I feel like there are better examples of the type of film Eggers was going for. Recent hits such as Hereditary, Apostle and Midsommar met that slow, creepy horror feel much better than this, so I’d advise going to see those instead and picking this as a second-best.
Eddie says: What surprised me most about The VVitch is how it wasn’t actually that scary. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I went into this expecting more of a Hereditary or The Autopsy of Jane Doe type of affair. What we get is a slow unnerving thriller, which at times feels more like a family drama than a film about witches. It has it’s creepy moments (the crow scene is horrid) and as the characters get more paranoid about the strange happenings, you can’t help but start feeling a bit bad about this nutty family.
The VVitch won’t be for everyone. The majority of the film is quite slow, and the old timey dialogue can be hard to get your head around, but if you just go with it, you’ll find yourself watching a very unique horror film. Whether you love it or hate it, I doubt you’ve seen anything like The VVitch.