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The Witch

February 20th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 12 Comments

I liked THE WITCH. The cinematography is gorgeous (particularly a slobber-worthy, late night lantern-lit outdoors scene), the acting is across the board impressive (particularly RALPH INESON as the put upon patriarch. What a voice on that guy!) and there are more than a couple moments in this melancholy mood piece that can chill ya to the core (particularly a bit involving a raven that has branded itself into my noggin). That said, you have my full approval to skip it in theaters. That’s right; don’t go see it. I personally, wish I waited and watched it in the privacy of my own home in the wee hours, preferably during a relentless rainstorm. It’s such an intimate, quiet outing that it deserves to be devoured alone and without a person chomping popcorn like a mule behind you. Furthermore, if you are wondering if this is one of those movies where all the critics lead you to believe that you are about to experience the next THE EXORCIST and then you go and see it and it’s NOT the next THE EXORCIST — the answer is yes, it is one of those movies. Truth is kids, you’re not getting your own THE EXORCIST so you might as well stop waiting. Folks were innocent back then and if you are reading this, then you are on the Internet and are therefore already jaded, corrupt and ruined.

That’s the end of my review but I’ll add some extra text just to justify the posting of more of these cool animal poster images! Um, THE WITCH is about this family during the olden timey days that try to forge a life for themselves and fail miserably at it. Eventually they all blame their crappy fortune on teenage daughter Thomasin (ANYA TAYLOR-JOY), which is understandable because she’s the only one in the family who doesn’t look like she fell out of VAN GOUGH’s “The Potato Eaters” painting. Writer/ director ROBERT EGGERS does an exemplary job as far as atmosphere and historical accuracy goes and he’s admirably able to make it seem as if nature itself is a malicious supernatural force. I also dig how he goes against the norm in the way information is disclosed, as it keeps the viewer perpetually on their toes and plowing through the dark. I’m afraid I’m going to have to watch THE WITCH a couple dozen more times before I can even start to think I know what’s truly going on in it. Maybe I’m dumb. Probably. Oh well, I enjoyed THE WITCH but I can’t say it knocked my socks off because my socks are still on. I know I’m supposed to either passionately love it or vehemently hate it but sorry, I’m more in the middle. It’s basically everything I’ve ever asked for in that it’s EYES OF FIRE (1983) if EYES OF FIRE was super pretty to look at but still I sit here feeling like I somehow missed a course of the meal.

You know what it is? I think this movie is relying too heavily on the assumption that I’m going to be scared of a talking goat! No way, I’d love to meet a talking goat! If I met a talking goat I would only want to hug it and be its best friend. Plus I’m pretty sure THE WITCH has it in mind to vilify a bunny? Again, no way. In closing, if conversing with animals is wrong, I don’t want to be right. We shall meet again THE WITCH, on my own home turf! If nothing else, you truly are vexing. I like that.

Tags: General Horror




12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lynette FrommeNo Gravatar // Feb 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    It reminded me of LVT’s Antichrist. I liked it, but the audience I was with did not. My husband said he wished he’d seen Deadpool instead. I’m looking forward to seeing it at home too (with subtitles).

  • 2 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Feb 20, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAE1XTvKLXA

    The Raven by The Alan Parsons’ Project, with voices by Alan Parsons and Leonard Whiting (Romeo from Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, 1968 and the 1973 made-for-TV movie “Frankenstein: The True Story”.)

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Lynette Fromme,

    You’re right about that LVT comparison. I didn’t think of that! I actually felt so guilty for not liking this more but what can I do? I think I needed to maybe see the family in a brighter light at the beginning so that their downfall would feel more devastating. It was hard for me to connect with them. I thought the father was a fantastic actor though. I’d still give it a solid 8 for its artistry. It’s a beautiful movie. I’m pretty sure I just got kicked out of the cool kids club for not giving it a 10+++ though (not that I was ever in that club).

    Oh and great idea about the subtitles! That will help. Plus I want to learn the lyrics for the black Phillip song!!!

    Bdwilcox,

    That is perfect! Did you know I once wrote a traumafession about APP? They always scare me! Especially “time” and ‘Eye in the sky”…

    https://www.kindertrauma.com/?p=207

  • 4 Madamoiselle MacabreNo Gravatar // Feb 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I think you could double-feature this with THE SHINING too (painstakingly symmetrical shots, the pacing, a battered family pushed over the edge by the supernatural).

    Am curious, (WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILER) but did anyone else interpret the ending as a happy one?

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 21, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    MM,

    I think it would pair up nicely with THE SHINING too. In fact maybe someone will later build a hotel right where that house stood!

    And yeah, that ending was (literally) up-lifting. It may be the only moment of happiness you see in the entire movie (Ah, now I’m starting to get it!)!

    I’m starting to wish I could have seen this when I was younger and more terrified by religious stuff.

  • 6 Cousin WILNo Gravatar // Feb 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I can’t decide if I like this or not. I feel like I need to see it again to decide. Since it is not your typical horror film and you only see the witch 2 or 3 times the movie needed something else to keep you interested. I don’t think it did a great job of being creepy, and I think Christopher Smith’s Black Death did a better job of making me feel hopeless and dirty while watching it. The Witch did not make me feel the hopelessness it was trying to portray. It was like watching Little House. I loved the twins, but they weren’t around enough to hold my interest. The witch appearances were creepy but nothing memorable. I had trouble understanding what was going on sometimes, I didn’t understand how the family was doomed when they had a farm full of animals…

    The Witch is just a tad boring and the payoff wasn’t really worth it. It just needed something a little more to keep it interesting but I think it kind of fell flat. I didn’t hate it, but I have trouble thinking of one moment that stood out, or a character I was really interested in, or anything really to praise. I think it’s kind of a forgetful movie, to be honest.

  • 7 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Feb 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Unk, I have that same visceral reaction to Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsW8rXPcnM0
    I’m like, “Does anyone else notice that this is ‘break the cyanide capsule I keep in my tooth’ type music?” It’s the sound of inescapable melancholy.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Cousin Wil,

    BLACK DEATH. What a great movie that is! I have to watch that again soon. I’m having trouble with some aspects of THE WITCH too. I do think a better job could have been done with some of the characters particularly the poor mom. And is it wrong to want more witch? Maybe they should have called it THE GOAT. I think everybody agrees that Black Phillip stole the move.

    Bdwilcox,

    Ah! That’s another creepy one! And let’s not forget “Dust in the Wind” ! That one is will suck the life right out of you. I gotta give Rob Zombie some props for utilizing “Nights in White Satin” in H2 as well. That one is downright haunting.

  • 9 Mondo DigitalNo Gravatar // Feb 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    For my money, the scariest thing APP ever did the video for “Prime Time”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6NNJq0FZN4

    Total nightmare fuel and the creepiest music video of the ’80s (though it has stiff competition).

    Also, THE WITCH is amazing on a second viewing. I highly recommend it.

  • 10 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Aaaaaaaah!! Mondo Digital! Thanks for sharing that! I had never heard that one but whoever decided to add a smiling mannequin to a APP video is a cruel genius. That thing is straight out of TOURIST TRAP!

    I’m very much looking forward to a second viewing of THE WITCH. I’m still thinking about it and I can’t wait to watch it at night rather than during the day. In fact, I think it gave me a horrible nightmare the other night.

  • 11 piptNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Finally saw The Witch a couple of days ago, hoping it would grow on me but it left me feeling so empty. I’m with you Unk, I feel bad for not liking it more but it felt like the director cobbled together a bunch of his favourite ideas into a very muddled whole. Did anyone else notice the reveal scene of the huge woodpile against the house? That felt like a poor rip-off of the “all work & no play…” scene from The Shining. And don’t get me started on the final scene! Most disappointing film (horror or otherwise) I’ve seen in a long time.

  • 12 enfantaNo Gravatar // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    pipt sez: “Did anyone else notice the reveal scene of the huge woodpile against the house? That felt like a poor rip-off of the ‘all work & no play…’ scene from The Shining.”

    And the thing about that is, you really DO need a lot of wood to get through the winter! He may have been an incompetent provider in every other aspect but at least he got that part right. So it wasn’t even a very honest reveal.

    I think I need to watch the movie again because I walked out of it wondering what I’d watched. Was it allegory? Unreliable narrator? An honest-to-badness witch? I don’t think the director knew, either…

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