The Witch

The Witch ★★★½

THE VVITCH is one of those films that's hard to peg down to any genre. It feels like a neorealist period piece more reminiscent of TREE OF THE WOODEN CLOGS than your typical horror film.

Set in 1630's New England, we follow a family living in the colonial era. The film's set design and cinematography, consisting entirely of natural lighting and candles, take center stage. The dialog, consisting of antiquated English, is so well-performed by its cast that it might actually be too well done; you might need to turn the English captions on just to understand what the characters are saying half the time. It often feels like you're watching a play.

Slowly, the family begins to encounter strange misfortunes: their infant child vanishes, one of the boys has a strange encounter in the woods...but whereas a more traditional horror film would use these moments to build tension and suspense, here they just linger in the air, the family just accepting that they live in a time of witchcraft. All of this leads into a strange final act where the story's supernatural elements start to move more into the foreground.

I guess I'm not entirely sure how I felt about THE VVITCH. I can't really say it scared me, nor did I feel fully invested in the characters. But I did find it a very unique experience and appreciated its craftsmanship and arresting visuals.

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