Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Witch

Movie Name: The Witch
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Robert Eggers
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Bathsheba Garnett, Julian Richings, Sarah Stephens
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis & Review:
"The Witch" is Robert Eggers' feature film debut, and has already garnered plenty of accolades, namely the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival (of 2015). The film takes place in New England in the 17th century. A devout family is expelled from a small community, because the patriarch of the family doesn't agree with the way the Church and Christian faith is professed in that small village. The family decides to take ownership of a plot of land by the woods. They quickly build out a small farm and start their crops, and the family expands with a newborn baby. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, things slowly start unraveling, with the oldest daughter in particular coming under heavy scrutiny and accused by her siblings of being influenced by the devil.
Robert Eggers in his directorial debut (following a career that started as a production designer), manages to create a film that is anchored in a meticulous depiction of what life in the 17th century would be like. It's a film that does not rely on shock value to slowly create a sense of impending doom and general unease. The isolated family with their strong faith starts reeling from all the dramatic events that shake their beliefs, themselves and their sense of family. The director smartly lets the situations unfold, more through suggestion, than showcasing or fully revealing the forces surrounding the family. It's a strong film lives from the successfully created environment, with Anya Taylor-Joy and Kate Dickie creating interesting characters. The cinematography from Jarin Blaschke is beautiful, as is the costume design from Linda Muir. An interesting film worth watching.