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The Witch

February 25, 2016

 

RACHEL MAXWELL

thewitch copy

Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Thomasin in Robert Eggers’ disturbing horror flick–Photo courtesy of Rooks Nest Entertainment

Managing Editor | ram049@ latech.edu 

 

“The Witch” was not what I was expecting when I walked into the theater.

 

As someone who has seen her fair share of horror movies, I was anticipating all the usual cinematic and musical tricks to maximize audience members’ heart rates.

 

However, “The Witch” felt more like a drama than your usual horror film. In fact, I forgot I was watching one between the scenes that weren’t graphically horrific.

 

That isn’t to say the movie was bad, or that it was not scary. It was good – really good – and when it did go for the scare, it hit the mark; some scenes were so disturbing they are still making me cringe as I write this review.

 

Robert Eggers’ work showed, and his attention to detail paid off.

 

Much of the dialogue was taken from actual witch trial transcripts, and the accuracy of the writing along with the costumes and family dynamic made it feel like a film about the 1600s, not just a pilgrim-themed slasher flick.

 

While horror movies tend to go cheesy, “The Witch” maintained its legitimacy throughout the film.

 

The performances were strong all around, especially considering how young some of the actors were, how dark some of the scenes were and how antiquated the dialogue was.

 

Though much of the dialogue was hard to understand, I was able to keep up with what was going on because the intent of the characters’ exchanges were so clearly portrayed by the actors.

 

While the film definitely stands on its own without the “jump factor” achieved by most scary movies, it is missed.

 

There were several points that felt like a jumping off point for a series of good scares but stopped short every time.

 

The lack of gimmicks leading up to scares did perhaps lend to unsettled feeling I had leaving the theater.

 

Because none of the gore crossed the line into cheesy scares, the events felt more realistic and were more disconcerting.

 

If you are expecting a movie that will make you jump in your seat and grab your date in fear, you may be disappointed.

 

However, “The Witch” is a movie worth seeing and deserving of the Best Director award it received at Sundance Film Festival. The gore is grisly and well done, and the plot line is interesting without becoming gimmicky.

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