In this weeks review, I start off with some good news for me, and some bad news for you. The good news is that I got a promotion at the theater chain I work at! I am now a supervisor. Long story short, more money=more enjoyment of the city! The bad news is that due to this, I will be getting more hours and less time to write. This means I will have to cut down to maybe even one day a week, or perhaps just whenever I can. If I have to, I will stop writing reviews and write my studies instead, as I enjoy writing those more. I might add some studies about movies on Netflix.
However, in my last week with little responsibility, I will watch as many movies as I can! so I started with the critically acclaimed horror movie, The Witch.
As always, Spoilers will be in BOLD RED LETTERS!! if you’re looking forward to watching the movie spoiler free, avoid those.
And if you need to take a look at my review score, here they are.
Let’s get to it!
Our film starts in the 1630’s, with William (Ralph Ineson) and his family who include his Wife, Katherine (Kate Dickie) His teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy ), her younger brother, two children, and a baby.
William is exiled from the common wealth in Boston over a disagreement with the townsfolk. He takes his family to a small house towards the outskirts of the town, near a forest. One day, Thomasin is outside minding the baby when a strange tragedy befalls the family. Little do they know, what happened would be only the start of these events, as they are being haunted by something beyond their understanding.
What Should Attract:
This movie came out in a film festival last year and took it by storm. It has only gained an insane amount of hype since then, following critics and most fans highest praises. It is said to be not just a great horror film, but an artistic film that crosses story telling styles as well. A trailer came out but it still didn’t give much in the way of information. This only added to the intrigue. After about a year of being in the festival, it finally came to a wide release this Friday. If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what does. I will not give a trailer for this movie due to the fact that the less you know, the better.
The movie starts off really slow, and only really picks up at the end. Unless you’re really patient with it it really won’t pay off. This is, however, a minimalist film, so some shots and scenes drag, and although the film is short, it feels long as a result. This might upset some fans of the more traditional horror films, as there are no jump scares to be had in this one. Not much background or explanation is given of the characters and not much is told to us about the situation. They imply there’s a town near, and show us the commonwealth in the very beginning of the film, but the film never shows us more then the characters we’re to be stuck with for the rest of the film. This is not a problem, but some viewers might feel some more information on the family or the commonwealth might be needed to enjoy the film more in the end. This is the type of movie that tries to creep you out by showing you less then more, so if you’re expecting to see a lot of crazy stuff, you might be disappointed.
These are all minor and take away little from the story. The biggest complaint people might have is the old English language being used, which makes the actors hard to understand sometimes. The father specifically can mumble and if you’re not listening closely to his every syllable, you might miss something he says. The younger children also yell and sing but unless focusing just on their voices you might not understand what they’re saying.
Although the actors are not extremely well known (but seen before in other films, mostly in supporting roles) They do an incredible job. This doesn’t just go for the older actors (the parents) but also the younger kids and specially our main character. The director, who’s directing his first feature film credit here, also does an incredible job. The fact that there are no jump scares doesn’t bring the film down due to his directing. The intensity of the disturbing things that happen to the family depicted in the movie is shown with masterful creativity. And by masterful creativity, I don’t mean it necessarily looks beautiful; I mean it creeps you the hell out.
One of the best things about the film is that it takes a page off the Jaws type of film making. You will barely see the witch in the film. I would be surprised if her screen time even adds up to 3 minutes. However, just like that giant Shark lurking under water, you can always feel her presence every time some creepy shit goes down.
The best part of the film is that it’s more psychological and you’ll have to pay attention to the shots, and make up interpretations of what they mean at times. It has layers of metaphor and it doesn’t just work as a horror film but also as a coming-of-age tale for the main character and her younger brother who is just hitting puberty. Mix the horror and the fact that you’ve never seen a female coming-of-age tale placed in the 16th century Boston (when paranoia about witches was crazy) and you’ve got yourself a movie that you’ve never seen before.
I suspect this is the type of movie you might want to watch twice if you’re into sound and cinematography. The darkness and the gray fog of the forest play a very cool role in the film. Specially in the night in which only flames and candles light up sets. This was very well done to make the viewer focus where the director wanted him or her to focus. The music and the sounds made by animals and other things in the film add to the disturbing feeling when watching. When a sound comes out of something that’s not human, it usually makes you uneasy. Sometimes even when it’s human.
-This is psychological horror!! not very much happens in the way of jump-scares, ghosts, and random sounds. You’ve gotta look around the frame at times to catch something weird happening, and it will feel like it’s dragging at times as shots linger. So Regular horror fans, beware.
-There’s only a total of 8 characters if you count the baby, so you’ll feel like seeing more by the end of the film, and you’ll be left with some questions. The film hides way more then it shows. For some, that might be part of the charm. For others, it might just be annoying.
-The cinematography is not extremely unique, but it adds to the creepyness perfectly. The Sound Mixing/editing and Music however, is top notch. Expect to hear some sounds and out of tune music you feel really weird about.
-Even though you’ve seen horror films, coming of age tales, and psychological thrillers, it’s hard to argue you’ve seen a mash-up of all of them like this.
Thanks for Reading!!
If you watched The Witch and loved it, I recommend these films:
Other Movies I watched this Week: Zoolander 2
“This one is just as crazy, silly, and stupid as the last one before it. It’s best not to watch the first film before you go watch this one, as it might be too fresh in your mind. Best for those fans waiting for it for this long to just jump into it with average expectations.”