Screened as part of Autumn Events 2016
Puritan terrors of devilry and damnation come screaming to life in this impeccably crafted and thrillingly scary debut. Set in 1630, the film follows a deeply religious family living in self-imposed isolation on the edge of the New England wilderness. As mysterious events occur, not least the sudden vanishing of their newborn son, the family is engulfed in dread. An evil spirit has invaded the forest and the farmyard – or does it lurk within their own sinful hearts?
Writer-director Robert Eggers immerses us in densely researched period recreation and the visual shadings of a 17th-century etching. The actors seem to have emerged from a time capsule, speaking the language of King James and, as Lorde has tweeted, “surrendering their characters’ bodies to possession.”
“One of several recent genre standouts to emerge from the indie-art cinema crowd to chill audiences with more than forgettable gore and cheap jump scares. The Witch makes exceptional use of a seldom-tapped Puritanical setting to build riveting, slow-burn terror.” — Jen Yamato, The Daily Beast
“Eggers manages to create a sense of mood and dread that is so suffocating at times that it feels like we're watching something genuinely transgressive, something we should not be seeing… He has created something that feels like it cuts deep, that gets past simple genre definitions to become something unique.” — Drew McWeeny, Hitfix