(image credit: A24)

Robert Eggers’ directo­rial debut, “The Witch,” was a surprisingly well made thriller. That’s right, a thriller, not the straightforward horror it’s been advertised as.

Taking place in 1630 New England, “The Witch” follows a family of seven who were exiled from their unspecified settlement. Taking their ban­ishment with dignity, the fa­ther, mother, and five children (one teenager, a younger boy, a small boy and girl, and an in­fant son) build a new home for themselves next to the woods, a few miles away.

Shortly after beginning their farm, their infant child is stolen from the family under the watch of the eldest daughter (Anya Taylor-Joy). From this point on, the mystery of “The Witch” builds and the tension between the family increases. Relationships are strained, and the movie ends with a shocking and disturbing finale.

The strongest point of “The Witch” is the incredible acting. Every single performance in this film was noteworthy, even by the two featured child ac­tors. Taylor-Joy did a wonder­ful job as Thomasin, the father and mother (Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie) were amazing, and Ralph Ineson especially made a great, gravelly voiced man of God. The eldest son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) was phenomenal in his first major role.

Every line delivered is be­lievable. Every facial expression feels real. The performances by every actor are what made “The Witch” as good as it is.

Apart from the acting, the costumes and lighting are per­fect. The immersion of the film is never broken. Natural light­ing and authentic costumes made me feel like I was actu­ally watching a family from the 1600s in early America. The re­ligious aspect, which is a major part of the film, was also han­dled well, giving an accurate representation of the major be­liefs and practices of the time.

Now, in terms of actual horror, “The Witch” falls short. But that’s not its fault. The movie is marketed as a hor­ror movie, when in reality it’s a very well made and disturb­ing thriller. Tension builds throughout the movie, and there are several implied, but not directly shown, grotesque moments.

The writing, lighting, cos­tumes, and acting are all amaz­ing in “The Witch,” but while I say that, I must admit I was let down by the film. I blame it on a coworker of mine hyping it up to be one of the best movies I’ll ever see. I went in expect­ing and wanting it to be perfect. What I got was, at no fault to the movie, a very solid 9/10.

My biggest complaint with the movie is actually right at the very end, but I won’t spoil it. You should definitely see the movie, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of the genre. The quality of the film itself makes it worth seeing. I highly recommend it.


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