America was initially built upon with Puritan ideals where the country’s founders had extreme ways of worshiping God, such as witch burnings and other offences they considered sacrilegious. As the title of the new horror film The Witch suggests, witchcraft is indeed upon some poor souls.
After a family in 1630s America has been excommunicated from their hometown, due to their extremely devout Christian beliefs, they settle into some vacant land in the middle of nowhere to live out their lives. But soon the family’s baby disappears and other strange things start happening, and the family believe that the devil is out to get them, causing both a literal and spiritual battle.
The Witch is a creepy film where you do not always see the terror that haunts this family, but you don’t need to. Although the film is not an all out gore fest, there are indeed some gruesome imagery of how savage nature is. The feel of this film could be compared to subtle horror films like The Shining or Antichrist, for both conveying creepiness with the isolation and sounds of nature surrounding the hapless family.
What makes The Witch work is that rather than simply being monsters creating the havoc, it’s humans who chose to worship the devil. This is the complete opposite of the family who love God and everything He stands for, who are now terrorised by those who simply relish in evil. This film is as much about the duality of human nature as it is about supernatural forces.
Sometimes the actors speak too softly (purely for the sake of dramatic effect), and the fact it’s in old English makes you have to think for a second what’s going on. But when the nastiness starts, it’s an uncomfortable film to watch. Without giving anything away, the imagery in the final scene is disturbing. If you are a fan of horror, but want actual terror rather than just blood and guts, then The Witch is definitely worth watching, at your own peril of course.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Tuesday 15 March 2016