The Witch is definitely everything I expected, from all the reviews and thinkpieces I’ve read of it, with a few surprises.
Although it’s a horror film, it’s more concerned with building atmosphere and character than throwing out cheap scares. The imagery puts me in mind of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s nature pieces, like The Bear. The soundtrack is beautiful and at times incredibly offputting, as an atonal women’s chorus swells, or strange instruments pluck and rattle, setting your nerves on edge.
The period setting has been exhaustively researched, and director/writer Robert Eggers has perfectly recreated a setting that lends itself to horror particularly well.
It’s not a horror movie for everyone, and I wonder if it will catch fire the way that a lot of people seem to think it will – I can’t see a group of people renting it on Redbox and pounding beers while watching it, but I never would have imagined Downton Abbey would blow up the way it did, either. I have LOADS of praise for it, but I won’t say too much just now. But the last ten minutes – SO awesome.
Anyway, I did notice a lot of parallels with my own work. I’ll put them behind a cut to spare people spoilers from the movie, but if you’re not intending on seeing the movie anyway then you might enjoy knowing where there’s overlap – and where there isn’t.