The Witch

The Witch is a 2015 Americanā€“Canadian supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers, in his directorial debut. The movie stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson,
Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger & Lucas Dawson.

Set in 17th century New England, the extremely fundamentalist (and newly arrived in the New World from England) man named William is banished from a Puritan plantation alongside his family for the crime of “prideful conceit.” They leave the community on a horse & cart with 4 kids in town and a baby on the way. They make a farm in a remote area near a brook and the woods where they dare not venture. The wife, Katherine, soon gives birth to her fifth child, Samuel. While being closely watched by eldest child Thomasin, Samuel vanishes, kidnapped by a witch in the woods, who kills him and uses his blood and fat to make a topical ointment for her body (in a creepy and dark scene). Needless to say, Thomasin is blamed for being negligent and the family believe that a wolf stole the child. A devastated Katherine spends his days either crying or praying. With failing crops, William takes his oldest son Caleb, into the woods to hunt. While relying on their dog’s tracking, Caleb confronts his father about his unbaptized fate. William, in turn, confides to his son that he traded Katherine’s prized silver cup for hunting supplies.

Later while at the brook the mischievous twins Jonas & Mercy, out playing with their black goat Black Philip, taunt Thomasin for losing Sam. Mercy, pretends to be a witch and says that the goat speaks but Thomasin scares her younger sister by claiming herself as the Witch of the Wood. That night, Katherine blames Thomasin for the disappearances of her silver cup – and hintingly, Samuel. As the children retire to bed, they overhear William and Katherine discussing sending Thomasin away to serve another family. The next morning Thomasin sees her brother sneaking out to go hunting and tags along on the horse. Their dog gives chase to a hare and Caleb follows, leaving Thomasin astride the horse, which throws her and knocks her unconscious. Caleb, now lost in the woods, finds the corpse of his now-disemboweled dog. Scared he is lured into the arms of a young woman deep in the forest. Thomasin awakens and guided by her father’s calls, finds her way home. As Katherine confronts Thomasin about going into the woods, William reluctantly admits that he stole her silver cup. Caleb returns to the house late at night, naked and wet in the rain and delirious.

Sure that he is befallen to the spells of a witch, Katherine prays over him. Caleb wakes up and rambles on his passion for Christ and dies (just before it seems as if he is being lifted up to awaiting arms) while the twins, who accuse Thomasin of being a witch and she in turns tells her parents of Mercy claiming that Black Philip talks, fall into a trance. An angered William boards up all three remaining children inside the stable with the goats. At night Katherine sees visions of Caleb and Sam and begins breastfeeding the infant, in actuality a raven pecking at her exposed breast. The witch is seen suckling the milk from a goat and scaring the children. William wakes up in the morning and goes outside to see the stable destroyed, the twins missing, the goats dead and only Thomasin alive. William is then gored to death by Black Phillip. Katherine, hysterical from her husband’s death and the twins’ disappearance, tries to strangle Thomasin, who kills her mother in self-defense.

A devastated Thomasin goes into her home and wraps a blanket around her and sleeps at the table. At night she is called to by Black Phillip, who answers in a human voice and appears as a man. He convinces her to sign a deal with the Devil, offering her the sights of the world and the life she wants to live. Thomasin walks naked into the forest where she finds a coven holding a Witches’ Sabbath. The witches begin to levitate and a cackling Thomasin joins them, rising into the trees and completing her transformation and identity as a witch.

The movie is dull and dragging at times. The main horror for me in the film is the fundamentalist Christianity spouting and babble about sinning, forgiveness, praying, hellfire and brimstone, sinners and all, born of sin, sin, sin, sin, making witches and Wiccans out to be the evil that they are not. Seriously the religious fervor in the family is beyond nuts! Sheesh! Top notch acting by the actors. I give this film a 7 outta 10!

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