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The Witch
BLU-RAY disk
07.05.2016 By: Jason Adams
The Witch order download
Director:
Robert Eggers

Actors:
Anya Taylor-Joy
Ralph Ineson
Kate Dickie

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the 1630s, a family is forced out of their colony and starts a new life in the wilderness. When strange events and cruel luck befall them, each person must confront the idea that something inherently evil is bewitching them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

Hype can be a dangerous thing, especially for horror films. But the great acclaim surrounding the release of THE WITCH is not unfounded. This is a fantastic, effective and truly horrifying movie.

As good as it is, I'd be lying if I said this is a film for everyone though. THE WITCH isn't an easy watch. It's slow, methodical pace coupled with the olde English spoken throughout could put off a lot of potential viewers not ready to put in the work. But those ready to accept the slow burn with which the story unfolds will be rewarded with a lush atmosphere and a frightening, unpredictable tale.

The result isn't "fun" the way that some horror movies are. This is not a slasher where the excitement comes from seeing how the killer will off his/her victim. THE WITCH is disturbing and unnatural , feeding off a sense constant, palpable dread. Director Robert Eggers' clear goal is to unsettle the audience as much as possible. The way the shots linger a bit too long or the music builds to a deafening crescendo or the story plays with unnerving taboos—it's all very effective. A lot of films portray acts of evil. THE WITCH feels evil. There's a reason Satanists have embraced this film.

The movie also excels on a technical level. It's beautifully shot by Jarin Blaschke, creating some truly gorgeous imagery using wild nature and shadowy, candle-lit interiors. Same goes for the actors that fill those frames. This is a tough movie to sell, not just from the content but for the language and setting, and thankfully the film boasts amazing performances from everyone, including some very young children. Game of Thrones vets Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie lead the way as the parents, but its young newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy who is the real find. She carries the empathy needed for this decidedly dark story and her natural evolution throughout the film is the highlight of the film. Aside from Black Phillip, of course.

THE EXTRAS

In addition to a Digital Copy, the Blu Ray set contains three solid special features that don't repeat each other.

Commentary by director Robert Eggers: Eggers presents an engaging and open audio track. He covers the difficulty of the shoot and the hard lengths it took to achieve what they needed in this small independent production. It's also one of the few commentary tracks I can remember where a filmmaker admits to mistakes or discusses what he would've done differently. It's refreshing, but this isn't a movie Eggers needs to apologize for.

The Witch: A Primal Folktale (8:28): This is a pretty straightforward marketing piece with interviews and behind the scenes footage, but the information presented is actually fairly good.

Salem Panel Q&A with Cast and Crew (27:59): This features director Robert Eggers and actress Anya Taylor-Joy, as well as historian Brunonia Barry and author Richard Trask. In addition to discussing the film, the panel mainly talks about the Salem witch trials that were going on around the same time as the events in the film.

A Gallery is also included.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

Whether or not you're down for the slow pace and untraditional storytelling of THE WITCH, this is a unique horror film that should be a treat for genre fans. Just make sure you watch it with the subtitles on.

Extra Tidbit: Black Phillip was supposed to play a bigger role in the film, but the goat wasn't a good actor.

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