Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Witch - Review

Purposely exiling themselves from the rest of the flock, a family of Christian pilgrims try to establish peace for themselves with a cabin and farm by the woods. Unfortunately, their plight begins to deepen when strange and tragic events happen, possibly caused by an unseen forest denizen. THE WITCH was widely hailed at last year's Sundance Film Festival to the point of it winning Best Directing, a very high accomplishment for a genre film at the annual indie event. Finally able to see the pic, my resounding cry can join the sea of praises. THE WITCH is a near-perfect work of historical accuracy and horrific dread, drawing in fresh eyes with its unique take of a setting and blending its expertly brief ghastly imagery with the tribulations of early American life and religious furor. It's beautifully carried along by a top notch cast, mostly of whom are children, who all are able to handle the archaic wordplay and deliver great performances. It's no surprise that the attention is focused heavily on Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the lead role of Thomasin, the oldest child of the bunch and whose rebellious nature and sheer bad luck causes her to be the pariah of the pack. She is sure to be destined for better things in Hollywood. Director Robert Eggers blocks out nearly every scene to be a series of iconic images, able to succeed for the most part thanks to the acting, the cinematography, and the delectable product design. The haunting musical score practically wants to rip the skin off your arm, as the amount of goosebumps it generates is hard to fathom. The editing is incredibly spot-on, knowing when to deliver a terrifying glimpse at something and somehow capable of making a cut to black to be absolutely petrifying. Though it does lose a few points thanks to some muddled plot turns and predictable outcomes, not to mention the fact that many casual viewers will be disappointed at the lack of cliché scares, THE WITCH is really that damn good as a horror art piece. It's really hard for myself to be a wee bit stingy against it right now, especially since the finale is so tantalizingly nightmarish that it took my breath away. However, I can say that we have a masterpiece this early in the year and sure to weigh on my thoughts come time for the best of lists.


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