Monday, February 22, 2016

The Witch - Review

    The rarity of a good horror has almost become as cliché as the horror clichés that already exist. It’s such a rare find among the cheaply made and jump scare filled travesties of the past decade or so. Nevertheless there are films that come about and prove just what a well made horror film can be. The Witch just so happens to be one of those films.
   In early seventeenth century New England, a family falls into deep panic and despair when the youngest son suddenly vanishes. The blame falls upon Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who was watching the boy at the time. As suspicions and paranoia rise, the twin siblings Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) begin to suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, ultimately testing the family’s faith, loyalty and love for one another.
    The first thing anyone needs to know before going in to the theater to see the New England folktale is that the film is completely a slow burn. In fact the first thirty minutes or so are relatively slow, save for one scene. There is all this atmospheric set-up, and particularly that one scene, that ultimately build to a huge payoff in the end.
   From top to bottom, the acting is top notch. Every performance feels authentic, as though these individuals are actually a family in seventeenth century New England. There isn’t a single weak link and that’s hard to say when child actors are involved as heavily as they are. The eldest daughter, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is the high point as she features heavily as the center point for the family. The film is largely from her point of view, placing a lot of drama on her shoulders for the entire runtime.
    Besides being a good horror film, The Witch is an absolutely well made movie. The film proves, if nothing else, that a great score, by Mark Korven, can add tremendously to any horror film. But the real hero here is first time director Robert Eggers, who has started his career on the right track, even earning the Best Director award at Sundance for his work on this film. His ability to craft tension and build an atmosphere is some of the best I’ve seen in a while and is even more commendable when you consider it’s his first time out.

   Overall The Witch is not a film for everyone, but that’s doesn’t mean it’s bad in the slightest. It’s not the type of movie that will scare you constantly or feature shocking images, but instead will provide an eerie period drama with just enough creepiness to make you feel uneasy as you sit in your comfortable theater chair.  It’s atmospheric, authentic, amazing, and the first of many great things to come from director Robert Eggers. (8.5/10)


   So what did you think of The Witch? Have you seen it and what's the best movie you've seen featuring a witch? Share, comment below, and as always return back to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and more.

Be sure to check back later today and this week for my predictions for the Oscars this coming Sunday, February 28th.