Starring Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie and Anya Taylor-Joy
Four and a half out of five stars
From the mind of soon-to-be superstar filmmaker Robert Eggers, comes "The Witch," an original witch tale set in 17th century New England that he penned, entirely, in the the dialect of the time. What say thee? In the English of yore? Yes!
It’s 1630, to be exact, and a time when everyone is a deeply religious Christian and many believe in witches. William (Ralph Ineson), his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their five children live on a farm near the woods. When Katherine asks her teen daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), to take her baby brother Samuel for a walk, they wind up near the woods, where an innocent game of peek-a-boo turns into an opportunity for a witch to snatch a baby.
That’s when all hell, almost literally, breaks loose. The family slowly starts to turn on one another, including Thomasin’s 6-year-old twin brother and sister.
"The Witch" is an extraordinarily well-acted horror film. Ineson, who has one of the richest and deepest speaking voices you’ll ever hear, practically turns his words into physical objects. His torment is palpable. Equally up to the task is Dickie who, like Ineson, was on "Game of Thrones" for a while. If you don’t watch "GoT," just know they tend to employ people who are very good at their jobs.
Eggers works overtime here to keep every scene intimate, capturing the natural ennui of life on a farm in 1630 while building tension between family members, and a goat. That’s right, a goat.
Most importantly, this movie wouldn’t work if it weren’t for Taylor-Joy’s earnest performance as a teenage girl who might be losing her faith, in everything -- because she’s a teenager, of course.
"The Witch" is so well-executed, you may at times feel compelled to walk out of the theater, simply unable to believe Eggers “went there.” But you don’t walk out on genius. Instead, you’ll grin and bear it, gasp, scream, cover your eyes -- and then celebrate a horror film neither you, nor cinematic history, will ever forget.