TREES ARE OFFICIALLY CREEPY AGAIN: ‘THE WITCH’ REVIEW
Not since 1999’s The Blair Witch Project in the following of three friends finding themselves lost in the isolation of the woods and ghost stories has trees been so terrifying. The sleeper hit instantly became a hit and a cult classic, paving the way for future films to amp the creep factor. Seventeen years later, it officially has become purely chilling to enter the forest again in Robert Eggers’ The Witch.
The 2015 Sundance hit written and director by Eggers (and earning him ‘Best Director’ nod) delivers the New England tale of young teen Thomasin, who finds herself along with her parents and younger brothers and sister, exiled from the town they’ve become to know and into the confinement of small farm. Their only surrounding comfort is that of family, field animals, faith…and the forest. From the start of the family’s arrival Egger’s sets up a brilliant level of eeriness—you fear for this family before ANYTHING begins to happen. Cow milking alone has never been so terrifying.
As crops diminish and sources scarce, the real terror for Thomasin and her devout Christian household arise when the youngest member mysteriously vanishes, leaving the family distraught and desperate to find him. The main place to search for their missing loved one and find food resources?—you guessed it, the woods. Upon each enter and exit, things become increasingly worse for the family and soon apparent that they are not alone. Something far darker than just aging greenery and bunnies plague those woods, something far more dangerous and something even the strong beliefs of Thomasin’s family can’t protect them from. As time goes on and situations get worse, they soon find turning on each other and even themselves.
The film as a sum delivers as shockingly intense, from the dark imagery to the daunting score of the soundtrack—and it works. Some scenes stick with you long after the hour and thirty minute feature ends and you’re well off into your comfort zone and suddenly you remember—that was fucked up. Start to finish you’re taken back in time and sucked into this Puritan world of absolute horror. It truly does feel authentic and as if it’s something you aren’t supposed to be watching. The cast together does their job of bringing life to the family, but it is Anya Taylor-Joy who steals the show as the youth watching life disintegrate before her innocent eyes.
After dominating Sundance, The Witch prepares to spook out audiences nationwide as it lurks into theaters February 19th. The soon to be classic masterpiece is rated R and not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.