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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

The Witch 2015 Reviewed

Updated: 6 days ago

Featured Image For The Witch 2015 Reviewed. Haunting movie poster for 'The Witch' with an image of a black goat, against a backdrop of a New England forest, invoking a sense of primal witchcraft.
In the bleak wilderness where puritan fears take root, 'The Witch' beckons, and the baleful gaze of Black Phillip pierces through the veil of sanity.

The world of "The Witch" is gray. Not in the way a city chokes with smog, but in the way the mind itself grays, dulling with despair and a kind of creeping terror that feels…old. Ancient even. Director Robert Eggers pulls us into 1630s New England, a harsh land where a Puritan family is exiled from their community, seeking some semblance of peace on the edge of an ominous forest.

The Witch 2015 Key Takeaways

  • The destructive nature of religious extremism: The film explores how rigid adherence to Puritanical beliefs can breed paranoia, suspicion, and ultimately tear families apart. The fear of the unknown and a hyper-focus on sin create a toxic environment ripe for accusations and self-destruction.

  • The power of suggestion and doubt: The film masterfully builds unease by never fully revealing the true nature of the evil. Is it a real witch, the family's own paranoia, or a combination of both? This leaves the viewer questioning reality alongside the characters, emphasizing how easily doubt can poison a community.

  • The vulnerability of female adolescence: Thomasin's coming-of-age story intertwines with the horror. She becomes a scapegoat within her family, a target for their anxieties about sin and the encroaching wildness. The film reflects societal fears surrounding female sexuality and burgeoning independence.

  • The oppressive nature of isolation: The family's exile forces them into a desolate wilderness where they are both physically and spiritually vulnerable. This isolation breeds internal tensions and makes them easy prey for the darkness lurking on the edges of their reality.

  • Folkloric roots of horror: The film pulls from traditional folktales and draws on the deep-rooted fears about witches and the 'other.' This grounds its horror in a sense of ancient malevolence, tapping into a primal terror.

  • Unsettling atmosphere over cheap scares: "The Witch" prioritizes mood and psychological terror, weaving slow-burn dread rather than relying on jump scares. This focus on atmosphere creates a more lasting sense of unease for the viewer.

  • The fragility of family bonds: In the face of extreme hardship and escalating hysteria, the bonds of loyalty and love shatter within the family. "The Witch" paints a bleak picture of how fear and desperation can erode even the strongest familial ties.

Girl with wide eyes and a trembling hand, watching a terrifying scene from The Witch.
Something in the shadows whispered her name...

It’s not long before things start to unravel. We find ourselves in a space where nature seems to hold something sentient, a darkness that seeps through the leaves and into the souls of this stricken family. William, devout and proud, leads his wife, Katherine, and five children into this isolation, and from the opening scenes, you can feel the strain pulling them apart.

Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the eldest daughter, is a young woman on the verge of her own life, caught amidst the weight of her mother's grief and her younger siblings' mischief.

When her infant brother, Samuel, suddenly disappears while under her care, the family is ripped open further. Accusations of witchcraft fly, particularly settling on young Thomasin. Her twin siblings Mercy and Jonas start to look at her with fear, the way children do when their innocence starts to fade into something less pure.

What follows isn’t a parade of cheap jumpscares. "The Witch" conjures its horror by burrowing under your skin. It's a film that trades in lingering doubt more than sudden shocks. Was it a wolf that snatched Samuel, or something else that lurks within the shadowed trees? Was it Thomasin's fault, or is there a real witch in the woods, a creature of folktale and shadowy figures half-glimpsed in the twilight?

Close-up of an old man's face, etched with fear, as he watches a horrifying scene in The Witch (2015).
Some sins follow you into the fading light...

A Horror Movie From The Brilliant Minds At A24

The beauty of this film is that Eggers never lets you settle on an answer. He lets the fear simmer, a dark broth made from whispers and uneasy glances. It infects every frame - the starkness of their meager farm, the way Katherine (Kate Dickie) clutches her Bible like a shield, the unblinking gaze of the family's goat, the strangely intelligent Black Phillip.

This might frustrate audiences looking for a more traditional horror flick. But the brilliance of "The Witch" is its restraint. It’s an exercise in tension and unease, fueled by the fear of what might be rather than what definitely is. The family's Puritan faith, already strict and foreboding, becomes a weapon turned inward. There's a feeling that faith itself, or rather misplaced faith, might be its own kind of evil.

The performances of the cast, particularly Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomsin and Ralph Ineson as William, bring a rawness that crackles on screen. You can feel the weight of their beliefs dragging them into a spiraling madness. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke and composer Mark Korven add a layer of oppressive dread, their work making the ordinary world around the family into something warped and menacing.

"The Witch" won't be for everyone. If you like your horror neat and tidy, this ain't it. But if you like your films to get in your head and stay there, leaving you shivering deliciously, then this one might haunt your dreams. Eggers makes us question everything, including our own fears – where they come from, what form they take. It's like a Brothers Grimm tale turned nightmarish, a reminder that the darkest woods might lie within our own minds.

And that is The Witch 2015 Reviewed. Another modern horror slow burn that divides horror fans from around the world. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked The Witch 2015 You Might Also Like These Films.

  • The Wailing (2016): This South Korean horror film follows a policeman investigating a series of strange and violent events in a rural village. Like "The Witch," it expertly builds an atmosphere of creeping dread, blurring the lines between reality and the supernatural while exploring themes of faith and the corrupting influence of evil.

  • Hagazussa (2017): This German folk horror film takes place in the 15th century Alps. A psychologically driven and deeply unsettling tale of a woman ostracized as a witch, it shares "The Witch"s sense of isolation, creeping dread, and the blurring line between natural and supernatural evil.

  • The Lighthouse (2019): Another film by Robert Eggers, this one stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers descending into madness on a remote island. It trades the overt religious horror of "The Witch" for psychological isolation, claustrophobia, and a similar sense of unsettling, atmospheric terror.

  • Hereditary (2018): This modern horror film by Ari Aster offers a different kind of horror, but shares the focus on a family driven apart by grief and potential supernatural forces. Its sense of something deeply wrong lurking beneath the surface is powerfully similar to the feeling in "The Witch."

  • Midsommar (2019): Another Ari Aster film, this one focuses on a group of friends who travel to a remote Swedish commune for a summer festival that turns sinister. This film is drenched in sunlight, a stark contrast to "The Witch," but similarly explores pagan themes, the power of ritual, and the darkness that can lie within seemingly idyllic communities.

The Witch 2015 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is The Witch about? 

A: The Witch is a horror film set in 1630s New England that follows a Puritan family exiled from their community. After building a home on the edge of a sinister forest, they face a devastating loss – their youngest child, Samuel, vanishes under mysterious circumstances. Fear and paranoia grip the family, fueled by suspicion of witchcraft and a growing sense of malevolent forces at play.

Q: Who are the main characters in The Witch? 

A: The main characters include:

  • Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy): The eldest daughter, whose coming-of-age coincides with accusations of witchcraft.

  • Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw): The eldest son, a curious and brave young boy whose fate leads the family further into darkness.

  • Katherine (Kate Dickie): The mother, deeply religious and broken by grief and fear.

  • William (Ralph Ineson): The patriarch, a devout man struggling to protect his family.

  • Mercy and Jonas (Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson): The mischievous twins, whose childish games take on a sinister tone.

Q: What are some of the themes explored in The Witch? 

A: The film explores themes of:

  • Original sin and religious extremism: The family's strict Puritan beliefs fuel paranoia, judgment, and ultimately, their self-destruction.

  • Family dynamics under pressure: Isolation and escalating fear test the bonds of family, exposing weaknesses and pushing them towards breaking point.

  • The seduction of evil: The film questions where true evil lies – in the woods, or within the family itself – hinting at the potential darkness within us all.

  • The vulnerability of female adolescence: Thomasin's experiences highlight society's suspicion and fear of burgeoning female sexuality and independence.

Q: How was the cinematography in The Witch? 

A: The cinematography in The Witch, by Jarin Blaschke, is widely praised. It utilizes natural light and stark, muted colors to create an atmosphere of oppressive dread and unease, reflecting the family's spiraling psychological state.

Q: What are some reviews of The Witch from critics? 

A: Critics hailed The Witch as a modern horror masterpiece. It received acclaim for its meticulous period accuracy, its unsettling psychological horror, and the powerful performances by its cast, especially Anya Taylor-Joy.

Q: What are some user reviews of The Witch? 

A: User reviews of The Witch are mixed. Some find it a slow-burn, atmospheric masterpiece that burrows under the skin, while others find the lack of traditional jump scares and the archaic dialogue a barrier to enjoyment. Many praise the performances of the young actors and the film's attention to historical detail.

Q: Who is the writer-director of The Witch? 

A: The Witch was written and directed by Robert Eggers, a filmmaker known for his commitment to historical accuracy and his ability to create immersive, terrifying worlds within his films. His other notable works include "The Lighthouse" and "The Northman."


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