By Christian DiMartino
Two really good movies… in February? What year is it?
Last week, we had the wickedly entertaining Deadpool (if you haven’t seen it, do. But for God’s sake, look at the parental guide!), and now this week we have The Witch, the creepy, well made directorial debut of Robert Eggers. It looks like we might have a new name to look out for here.
I must warn you before I dive into my review for The Witch that if you’re expecting to leave the theater screaming in terror, you’ve come to the wrong film. The Witch is more on the creepy side. It’s a film that builds to its suspense, hence why you cannot rest final judgement on it until the very end.
The film stars a group of unknown actors, but yet you’d never know it. Every performance here feels extremely authentic. You have to really imagine just how difficult it is to capture a screenplay like this, especially when it occasionally sounds like they’re speaking in tongues. It’s nuts. Even the little kids speak this way, and truth be told, I needed subtitles. Eggers also just captures the feel of the times perfectly, by look and all.
The Witch focuses on a family who is banished from a town, and is forced to live elsewhere. So they move outside the woods. Things seem to be going well, until one day, their baby is abducted. This is where the creepiness first arrives, aside from the score, which is kind of perfect.
The middle portion is where I see it losing people, as the suspense is kind put on hold. That said, it is nevertheless interesting. Soon, they try to hunt down the thing that took their baby. We, the audience, know what it is, and it ain’t pretty. In doing so, secrets within this family begin to bubble to the surface, and let’s just say… they don’t keep their cool.
As I watched The Witch, I knew I couldn’t reach a final verdict until it’s over. Yes, I realize all films should really be like that. Usually though, I can get a feel for just where a film is going, and with this one, you don’t. I kind of blame the genre, to be honest, because even though there are plenty of good horror films out there, a lot of them end with a thud, and it kind of ruins the entire movie for you. The Witch, however, ends with a bang. Even when I wasn’t sure what I was watching, I always admired it as a piece of filmmaking, because something like this can’t be easy to pull off.
Like last year’s It Follows, it’s not really that much of a movie. Its premise is simple, and it takes a bit to get where it’s going. It’s a slow-burning film, but by the end, it’s a really effective one.
Just see the film for itself. You may love it, as I pretty much did, or you might not dig it. You have been warned, so if you don’t like it, don’t come bitching to me about it.