The VVitch: A New-England Folktale
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Harvey Scrimshaw, Kate Dickie, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger
Plot: A family in colonial New England is accused of heresy by their local community and exiled. They find a nice place out in the wilderness and build a home there. Soon after, their infant son is spirited away and increasingly bizarre things start happening to the family. Is the family slipping into madness, or is there something more sinister going on?
Review: First off, if you like horror movies or psychological thrillers, I think you should give this a shot. I just wanted to say that at the top in case you haven’t seen it, because I am going to spoil the shit out of this. Now that that has been disclaimed, this movie gets crazy right out of the gate. Within the first fifteen minutes a baby gets kidnapped and butchered by a really old and creepy witch who is very naked and very covered in blood. It is deeply disturbing. When a small child dies in a horror movie you know that nothing is off limits at that point.
The movie takes a step back afterwards and gets a little more cerebral. The family struggles with a lot of stuff that seems normal enough, crops failing and the like, and it’s left vague as to whether it’s due to the dark arts or if the family just isn’t great at growing corn. Only at the end after the family has already given in to madness and paranoia does it really become clear what’s going on. It’s not the subtlest movie, but it does take a little thinking, which was good. As far as the acting goes, everyone did a great job, especially Anya and Harvey Scrimshaw. They deliver some really convincing performances. I was impressed, especially given how dark the material was and how young they are. I was distracted a little by how much the wife looked like the creepy breastfeeding lady from Game of Thrones, but as I sat down to write this I found out that she is, in fact, the creepy breastfeeding lady from Game of Thrones. If you’re wondering if she does some more creepy breastfeeding in this feature…she fuckin does. I think she’s being typecast, actually.
The film itself looks great. Every shot is gorgeous. Everything is dim and muted, which makes it look realistic. The score elevates everything as well. The dialogue could have bothered me, but it surprisingly never came across as inauthentic. Overall I really enjoyed this, although it’s not for everybody (any candy-ass too squeamish to watch an infant get stabbed should steer clear). I kind of want to see it again just to take another look at all of the symbolism they used, to see how it all kind of connects now that I have the full picture in my head. Anyways, R-rated horror movies come along so rarely these days that I try to make it a point to go see them when they do.