A24 Films

Questions of faith in a look back at ‘The Witch’

Still from THE WITCH courtesy of A24 Studios

Still from THE WITCH courtesy of A24 Studios

Questioning the unknown and trying to understand the things we can’t see has always been apart of human nature from the beginning of time. Outside of just questioning the unknown, religion has played a part in giving the answers we as humans need to feel safe. Director Robert Egger, The Witch is not just a well-crafted horror movie, it is also a seamless period piece that in cases fear and a slight coldness in you once you have left the theater.

The Witch is a tale set in 1960 New England, of an outcast puritan family who has been forced to leave their city because the father has outspoken objections to what he sees as the communities lack in religious principles. The father, William, has no problem welcoming the chance for a new life and home where he and his family can practice strict adoration to the Lord. The family finds a clearing where they build a remote cabin in the center of a dark wood. Once the f;amily has settled you start to get a better understanding of each family member. Thomas in the eldest daughter played by Anya Taylor-Joy, has high responsibility of playing care giver to her sisters and brothers as she is becoming a women herself. Thomasin is playing a game of peek-a-boo in the grass near the tree line of the woods with her little baby brother Samuel, when she opens her eyes to him being there and then opens them again to him being gone. You hear the rustling in the woods and the wind blowing a path to the entrance. Soon to be seen a cloaked figure running with the baby. The witch has taken off with the baby to only do the unimaginable to help her conjure the black magic so wants to posses. Once the witch as come to her lair you move through visually disturbing images of her and Samuel which only lead to horror.

Still of Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch (2015)

Still of Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch (2015)

After the disappearance of Samuel, each family member goes through conflicts and struggles of how this is God punishing them all. They attempt maintain their faith in God and wish and hold onto his light and glory. Each family member’s individual faith is being tested. Katherine the mother played by Kate Dickie falls into a depression and plead of gods will to bring her baby back. She doesn’t sleep or eat and can only lay blame on Thomasin. Caleb the eldest son who is played by Harvey Scrimshaw , puts on an award winning performance during all his trials in the movie. His understanding and reciting of scripture and prayer is impeccable and shows how faith gives courage and he steps up into a manly role. Then you have the young twins Jonas and Mercy played by Lucas Dawson and Ellie Grainger who go back an forth by playing it strong with there boisterous nursery rhymes , question what is sin and finding comfort in Black Phillip the dark foreboding goat that has become their family pet but is he really more?

Out of the entire family Thomasin, William and Caleb are the ones who question the hardest on God and why the continuous poor fortunes are happening to there family. With tensions building and with no answers from God they start to question each other as someone has to be responsible. One of them has to be unfaithful and causing the suffering they are enduring. As the loss of the Samuel continues to way on them, the dread of the witches return eats away at the children the most. Caleb takes it upon himself to go on the search for his baby brother. Thomasin catches him as he leaves and asked to go with him. They both have no fear of the dark woods that surrounds them and only asks for God to shine his light upon them and to dissolve them of their sins to keep them safe. The mystery continues as the two get separated and Caleb soon discovers the women that they all fear.

Robert Eggers The Witch is visually bathed in darkness and suspense. It is wicked and dismantles what a family once believed was a righteous path, turns into a psychotic mental break that pens them against each other with the help of an evil women bidding only her black magic to Satan himself.

4/5

THE WITCH is directed by Robert Eggers and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson.  It is available in theaters everywhere courtesy of A24 studios.

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