A welcome period setting – almost legitimizing the horror aspects for anyone not keen on the genre – allows The Witch to add gravitas to its story through the use of genuine 1600s New England records of witchcraft.
The central family performs admirably; especially lead Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin. Their friction pulls the thread of tension taut, building an air of suspicion that is maintained through careful use of gore. Things do, however, slow down towards the film’s denouement, almost as if The Witch is hesitant to commit to its own path, coming to an abrupt, yet satisfying, conclusion.
Its historical allegory ensures The Witch stands out, but it does become a little slow and murky with details as it feels its way through to the dramatic finish.
CAST: Anya Tayor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
DIRECTOR: Robert Eggers
WRITER: Robert Eggers
SYNOPSIS: After banishment from their 17th century New England community, a Christian family settle in an isolated spot on the edge of a deep forest. When the family’s baby goes missing, panic and worry combine with the harsh elements of their new life to breed an atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion.