Cinema Nova - Monday 14 March 2016, 3:50pm
Running time: 93m
Country: United States
Release date: 17/03/16
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4/5)
William (Ralph Ineson) and his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their children have been banished from a plantation in Puritan New England. The family set up a new home on the edge of a creepy forest and all seems to be going well until newborn Samuel suddenly and mysteriously disappears while in the care of eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). The story of the witch in the forest takes hold and the family are plunged into a world of fear and guilt.
The Witch is a supernatural thriller which draws on documents and court records of the time to intensify the harsh brutality of life on the frontier. It takes a while to get going but once it finds its rhythm it provides and chilling and sometimes gory film experience. The dialogue is a bit stilted (perhaps there was a bit too much adherence to historical texts here) but the story is engaging and intriguing. Some of the imagery is confronting but not gratuitous. The cinematography, particularly through the forest, is breathtaking and the use of light and shade heightens the growing dread.
The performances are very good with newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy stealing the show. Watch this space. Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson are suitably creepy as the twins and their scenes with Black Phillip are quite disturbing. And then there's the bunny. Nobody ever suspects the bunny. It's enjoyable old-school creepiness at its best. (ME)