A family of five living on the edge of a dark, ominous looking forest have many problems. They are poor, it is cold and they are cast out of the village. One day the youngest of the children disappears and what follows is a mix of witchcraft, superstition and horror.
Without revealing too much, the story, written and directed by Robert Eggers is just great. It builds slowly, is focused on characters and the frail bonds of the family and is edited really well.
The acting by everyone is just great. Special mention of Anya Taylor-Joy (Morgan fame) who is a real find. One can see her fear but also her boldness, her faith and her logic, her frustration and resolve. She displays all these emotions with ease and so do the others in the family, including the children.
Visually this movie is stunning – it is as dark as its story. The costumes, setting and accents have been given special attention and it shows. The background score is creepy and unsettling and adds to the mystery and horror.
This movie does what the first vampire and werewolf movies did – tell the story of witches.
The precision of the direction is a welcome change in the horror genre and reminded me of Babadook in a way. The Witch is a grim, supernatural period film about one family and how their superstitions, conservative beliefs and faith lead to the most horrific end. It takes you in visually as much as mentally and leaves you unsettled even after the movie gets over.
Horror fans should definitely not miss this one.