Friday, February 19, 2016
The Witch (2016) ***
If a film terrifies Stephen King you know they did something right. The few reviews I skimmed are hailing The Witch as a horror classic along side the giants in the genre. I'm not sure I would go that far, but the film certainly achieves a unique atmosphere. Set in 1630, a family is cast out out of the Massachusetts Colony by the authorities. The hardworking father and religiously devout mother must struggle to raise their five children in a hostile environment. After their baby goes missing, paranoia and terror consume the family. The Witch is equally a period piece and therein lies its originality. Horror films that establish reality work on a whole other level than most. Like in The Revenant, nature's brutality is on full display. And the puritan obsession with prayer and sin borders on psychosis. It's no wonder Americans are consumed with anxiety. The music and cinematography work in perfect tandem. Directed by Robert Eggers, there's an intimacy to the way the story is told, very similar to an Ingmar Bergman picture with hints of George Romero's zombie cinema. I don't recommend watching alone.