It's been more than a year since I saw The Witch at the Sundance Film Festival and...I'm still sorta creeped out by it. Little chance you'll see me venturing into the forest, or even a Christmas tree lot, any time soon after experiencing Robert Eggers' haunting horror flick. It didn't arrive in time for Halloween, which would have been perfect, but the film is set to hit theaters next month and the best trailer yet for it has arrived.
Featuring a breakout turn by lead Anya Taylor-Joy with Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, and Lucas Dawson co-starring, the film is set in 17th-century New England years before the Salem Witch Trials. But that doesn't mean fears of witchcraft are yet to exist, and one excommunicated family faces unspeakable terror while camped at an isolated forest. Here's the official synopsis, which is much longer than it needs to be:
In this exquisitely made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling in the New England wilderness circa 1630. New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest - within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately - animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways. Writer/director Robert Eggers' debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival - winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition - painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin - in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy - and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.
The Witch terrorizes theaters on February 19th, and it's one you're definitely going to want to check out, unless you have an irrational fear of goats. Even if you don't this film might cause one. Check out my early review here.