By Megan Bianco
For the past few years, cinema has churned out some great atmospheric, slow-burn horror/thriller indie flicks that have saved the film industry from completely selling out to superheroes. With the likes of Under the Skin, The Guest, It Follows and Ex Machina have been dazzling film fanatics, and newcomer Robert Eggers offers his own trippy experience with The Witch. A hit during the festival circuit throughout the past year, Eggers’ horror period piece is the unusual must-see for this February.
In 1640 New England, a family of English immigrants settle in the middle of a forest filled with tall trees and gray weather. Isolated from most of society, the family cares to its children and farm animals. While the eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is watching over the baby, the youngest child is abducted into thin air. The parents, William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine (Kate Dickie), wonder if there’s evil around the forest, while younger son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) is curious of what’s beyond the woods.
Eggers wisely casts unknown actors for the family members and the movie benefits from the slow pacing and period detail, particularly the old English dialogue, with the actors not feeling out of place. The Witch does everything a quality arthouse feature should: create a unique universe, set a solid tone and theme, use distinctive direction and tell a story through aesthetics and atmosphere. For movie fans who want to see one of the creepiest horror movies since Crimson Peak, The Witch is the one.