An American nanny is shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. 'The Witch' is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.
The Satanic Temple has endorsed this movie and hosted several screenings of the film. Their spokesperson, Jex Blackmore, addressed the film as "an impressive presentation of Satanic insight that will inform contemporary discussion of religious experience." See more »
[before the court]
What went we out into this wilderness to find? Leaving our country, kindred, our fathers houses? We have travailed a vast ocean. For what? For what?
We must ask thee to be silent!
Was it not for the pure and faithful dispensation of the Gospels, and the Kingdom of God?
No More! We are *your* judges, and not you ours!
I cannot be judged by false Christians, for I have done nothing, save preach Christ's true Gospel.
Must you continue to dishonor the laws of the ...
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Calvinist terrors abound in this fraught "folk tale"
"The Witch" charts a family of Calvinist dissenters in colonial America who are exiled from their community and homestead at the edge of an ominous forest. When the infant child of the family disappears inexplicably, a chain of increasingly bizarre events lead to claims of witchcraft and sorcery that implode the family.
Based on the plot summary, much about "The Witch" seems fairly predictable, and that's because it is. Robert Eggers makes no bones about reality or superstition here; this is, as it is branded, a "New England folktale" through and through. It's also allegorical on some levels, and is about an English family's failure to conquer the vast American frontier. Regardless of how it is read, the film's surface plays out like classic accounts of witchcraft and superstition that pervaded Puritan Calvinism in the seventeenth century.
What director Eggers does here is weave a taut and unsettling narrative through a series of meditative visuals and haunting encounters with evil--some have said not much happens in the film, and they're right--but is that the point of such a tale? The story is mediated through phenomenal performances that are the real emotional center of the film, while rare but fantastical occurrences with the supernatural jar the audience as much they do the family.
Eggers' direction is remarkable, and the cinematography consistently captures the gloom of a New England winter; close-ups show the younger children engaging with their ominous farm goat, while pans of characters venturing into the woods create a legitimate sense of danger--and that is another of the film's prevailing themes. In the film, the threat of danger lurks in all matter, be it in the natural environment, in doctrine, or the horrifying corporeal locus where the two meet.
Overall, "The Witch" is a surprising and moody entry in the horror genre for 2016; it is not only recalling classicism in its period setting and narrative, but also in its cinematic approach to storytelling. It is old-fashioned in just about every way, but is no less masterful at creeping into the skin as insidiously as evil does within the family. We feel their terror, their desperation, and their yearning for absolution; and that is what makes the film such an effective mood piece. 9/10.
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