This coming weekend, The Witch is set for a short, limited re-release in US theatres. And, in case you somehow managed to miss it the first time around, it’s imperative that you catch this movie now, before it’s robbed of its intrinsic ambience by home video.
The flick has been divisive, so you may be wondering whether it’s even for you. Well, it is. It’s for everyone. Everybody and their mothers should see The Witch. It’s one of the most important horror releases of the past five years, chiefly because it is so different, as evidenced by just how divisive it’s proven. .
If you’re still not convinced, here are five more indisputable (according to me) reasons why you need to catch The Witch immediately, if not sooner:
It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before
The Witch has proven somewhat controversial, primarily because audiences aren’t quite sure what to make of it. The flick is a horror film through and through, but it’s also a family drama, with significant insight into Puritan life and, in particular, the staunchly religious aspect of same. Thanks to writer-director Robert Eggers’s attention to detail, it feels almost documentary-like at times. Unlike a CGI-laden blockbuster, this is a small, intimate film set in a terrifying world that is all its own.
It’s historically accurate
Eggers based his film on historical accounts from the time period in which it’s set. As a result, everything from the costuming to the Olde English language to the setting itself feels completely real. The Witch is a very tactile movie. We can feel the bitter cold of a house without windows, smell the rain, and sense the loneliness and difficulty inherent in the central family’s plight. This isn’t just a movie, it’s an experience.
Much has been written about cheeky goat Black Philip, and the impression he makes cannot be understated. However The Witch is loaded with interesting characters. Take Anya Taylor Joy as Thomasin, whose daily struggle to be good enough for her strict parents only gets worse the more isolated they become. Or her desperate father, who is so tortured and adheres so strictly to scripture one suspects he may be Jesus himself reincarnated. Thomasin’s younger siblings, mouthy twins who always seem to be up to no good, are standouts, giving the flick some much-needed moments of humour. But it’s arguably Thomasin herself, and the young actress playing her, who makes the strongest case. A Scream Queen in the making for sure.
It’s a stunning debut
This is Eggers’s very first film, but you wouldn’t know it. His background as a costume and production designer, as well as an art director, shines through each, perfectly-composed scene. There’s not a second of wasted footage in The Witch. Even the most innocuous moments are loaded with meaning, heavy with suspense and bursting with intrigue. It’s clear this is Eggers’s passion project, and his love for the endeavor shines through even its darkest moments.
It’s really bloody scary
The backlash against The Witch is to be expected. The film isn’t for everyone, and there will be those who find the language, in particular, impenetrable. Our brains are wired for instant gratification, so a slow-burner like this takes some serious getting used to. But, regardless of whether you, personally, consider this a horror film (it most definitely is), there’s no denying the thing is scary. The tension is ratcheted up to an excruciating degree so that, when it finally explodes, the results are unforgettable, disturbing and super-weird.
Catch The Witch on limited re-release, in theatres, from April 1st, 2016