Written and directed by: Robert Eggers
Last night I saw “The Witch” and, while I am writing this review, my feelings on writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut film are still forming. There are two reasons for that. The first is that Eggers’ film is a truly haunting, slow burn work of cinematic art. The second is that American audiences are not conducive to the enjoyment of a movie like “The Witch”, but I will get into that later.
First, let’s talk about the movie. I think that anyone and everyone who can stomach some nerve-shredding terror and a bit of unsettling imagery should see it. I also feel that you should go in knowing as little as possible, which is why I am not going to get into the story. Instead I will describe how it made me feel and why I am beginning to believe it is one of the best horror films I have ever seen. It is so many things that a horror film should be, including incredibly original. And, that is coming from a guy who, after years of watching every movie I could get my hands on that was labeled “Shocking” or “The scariest film since…”, sometimes feels like I have seen it all. That being said, I absolutely love watching a movie that makes me feel an emotion in a way that not many movies have. “The Witch” is terrifying, but not in the traditional sense. It is all of the little things that make it’s terror seep into your bones. It’s in the eeriness of the score by Mark Korven. It’s in the setting and the beautifully bleak cinematography by Jarin Blaschke. It’s in every word uttered and glance exchanged by the actors portraying this devout Christian family that is coming undone at the seems, in the face of powers they do not and can not understand. It’s in the incredible attention to detail that transports you to a place and time when the only answer people had for such things was prayer and the faith that their god was listening.
“The Witch” is exactly the kind of film that reminds me why I love the horror genre. It reminds me that, once in a while, there is a movie that makes me feel uneasy. THAT, my friends, is not only a feet in film making but in any art. In every frame of Eggers’ film, there is a tension and a sense of something horrifying just around the corner.
Now for my rant about American moviegoers. I will keep it short and to the point. Why can people not just shut up for an hour and a half? I mean, if you are so narcissistic that you can’t go that long without spewing whatever verbal diarrhea is pushing it’s way from your brain to your mouth, why are you seeing a movie like “The Witch” in the first place? Go see “Ride Along 2”, and let the true fans of cinema enjoy the masterpiece. SERIOUSLY! PLEASE! People just can’t and it makes me consider never going to a theater again, but watching every movie I watch, from now until I die, at home. Okay… sorry… rant over.
Anyway, the things “The Witch” made me feel are still catching up with me but I know I liked it… a lot. There is really not a single thing I could complain about. I really want to see it again, in a quieter environment, because I think it might become one of my favorite horror films ever. In the mean time, you should all go see it and tell me what you think.