THE WITCH (15)
THE WITCH (15)
Run time: 93mins
Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson
Synopsis: New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest — within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately — animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit.
After impressing at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, director Robert Eggers’ feature film debut has been hailed as one of the most provocative and intriguing spine-tinglers of recent years, with its potent blend of history and horror that transports audiences back to America’s 17th century a few years before the Salem Witch trials.
This dark, disturbing and haunting chiller is set in the world of America’s Puritan pioneers. God-fearing farmer William (Ralph Ineson – a far cry from ‘Finchy’ in TV’s The Office), his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their children have been banished from their local plantation due to religious tensions. Fleeing to a new existence on the edge of a deserted and forbidding forest, they attempt to rebuild their lives from scratch. However, the pious William’s righteousness soon takes a terrifying turn when infant son Samuel disappears, seemingly the victim of a malign paranormal force. Have they brought this menace upon themselves? Or does the threat originate from within the forest itself?
As an unnerving, supernatural and psychological horror, this period chiller is superbly acted, beautifully directed, with stunning colour palettes in cinematography by Jarin Blaschke and atmospheric sound design.
Images courtesy of Universal Pictures