The Witch is a horror film about a Puritan family whose life is torn apart once they suspect that their eldest daughter, Thomasin (Ana Taylor-Joy), of practicing witchcraft which has caused them to be cursed.
This is the type of horror film that I really respond to. One that lets the horror build and affects the people who don’t understand what is happening. It’s not full of jump scares or cheap thrills, it’s unsettling and creepy. And for a movie called The Witch, you only really get hints and glimpses of her, but her presence stays with you throughout the duration of the film.
The highlight of the film is the family dynamic at play here. This is an outcasted family whose resentment starts to consume them and they all start to turn against each other.
The whole family gives great performances. Kate Dickie plays a grieving mother named Katherine. Her performance here reminded me a bit of her character in Game of Thrones, Lysa Arryn. She brings the same type of close-mindedness and judgment to her performance in the film. The father, William (Harvey Scrimshaw), is struggling to pretend that everything is ok, though his family is falling apart and their crops are failing. The film mostly focuses on Ana-Taylor Joy’s Thomasin. In her already outcasted family, she is the black sheep, the one always to blame. She is not treated the same as her other siblings, and she is frustrated and disheartened by this.
This is Robert Egger’s directorial debut, and it is a triumph of one. He manages to keep the environment suspenseful and creepy due to the cinematography and makes the audience also question who to believe when the family starts to accuse each other of their collective misfortunes.
I also would recommend watching the film with subtitles on because they speak Old English and it could be really hard to understand what they are saying.
I give The Witch an A.