The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2016)

What's it about? Set in 17th Century New England, a Puritan farmer (Ralph Ineson) and his family are banished from their village to a remote smallholding, only to find themselves at the mercy of the evil forces that lurk within the nearby woods.


Is it any good? A worthy addition to the folk horror genre, blending aspects of the Salem witch trials with darker elements from traditional fairy-tales to rather unsettling effect. Don't go in expecting fun BOO! moments that'll make you drop your popcorn, however. This is all about gloomy atmosphere and a slow build-up of tension as we watch the onscreen family bonds disintegrate, the emotional states of each member increasingly heightened by their individual inner torments (religious fervour, sin, superstition, puberty, loneliness). And that's before we mention the scary goat, the baby-snatching and the incessant, discordant soundtrack (by Mark Korven) which sets the nerves on edge. So it's a suitably eerie affair which illustrates how real witchery was for people of that time. But be warned it's also a slow, deliberate film and thou may findst that the dialogue demandeth thy full concentration, based as it is on ye olde english transcripts from authentic 17th century writings. Similarly, the events that occur fall into that category of 'open to interpretation', meaning it may annoy those who want things all explained clearly. Personally I liked the ambiguity, although I felt the very final scenes were unnecessary. But there's no doubt that as an atmospheric piece of period horror, it's an impressive and oppressive effort.


I don't trust you. What do others think? A hit on the festival circuit and a healthy word-of-mouth at the box-office, although a quick look at social media reveals many punters felt it was 'boring', 'difficult' and 'pure shit'. The real breakout star was Black Phillip, the large billy goat who proved a bit of a handling for the cast and crew during filming. Now with his own twitter account and the subject of many memes, I contacted him for an exclusive interview.

Me: Black Phillip, I conjure thee to speak to me. Dost thou understand my English tongue? Answer me.

Black Phillip: What dost thou want?

Me: What canst thou give?

Black Phillip: Wouldst thou like to write your interview deliciously?

Me: Yes.

Black Phillip: Wouldst thou like to see it on your blog?

Me: What will you from me?

Black Phillip: Dost thou see a keyboard before thee?... Remove thy shift.

Me: I cannot write my interview.

Black Phillip: I will guide thy hand.....

Me: Can I go now?

Black Phillip: ............No.

What does the Fonz think? A Grim fairy tale.

No comments:

Post a comment