THE WITCH Reviewed
Directed and Written by Roger Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Havey Scrimshaw
It is 1630, half a century before the Salem Witch Trials, and a family leaves a Puritan settlement in a dispute over religious practices. Setting up a homestead out in the wilderness, no time at all passes before their infant disappears. His older sister (Taylor-Joy) is playing peek-a-boo and he is gone. This immediately casts suspicion on her among other family members. Only her younger brother (Scrimshaw) and to some extent her father (Ineson) believe her innocent.
And indeed there is something sinister lurking just beyond the family settlement. But is it actual witches or is the family’s difficulties–their secrets, the dawning of womanhood for Thomasina, the sinister quality let loose by the set of twins, the mother’s incipient insanity, the father’s ineptitude as a farmer, that’s responsible for what takes place?
This is not a horror story in the traditional sense. The horror comes from watching a family turn on each other and itself. And it also comes from the incredible sense of a time and place Eggers has achieved. Truly a real accomplishment. Very good movies don’t require a huge budget if the story is worth telling. Highly recommended.
In addition to being the Crimespree Senior Film Critic, Patti has penned numerous short stories and her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, is in stores now. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at pattinase.blogspot.com. She hopes you’ll join in.