Title: The Witch
Rating: 3 Stars
A Puritan family is banished from its village, moves to a remote area, and is attacked by what appears to be witches.
I see that it’s marketed as a horror movie. If people go to the movie expecting a conventional horror movie, they’ll be disappointed. The horror of it is the disintegration of a family and the disintegration of their religious values, which is the central part of their life.
The most immediate conflict is between the eldest daughter, Thomasin, and her mother, Katherine. It is while Thomasin is watching the newborn that it mysteriously disappears. Katherine blames her, and as mysterious things continue to happen to the family, begins to suspect her of witchcraft. Katherine is played by the actress that plays the seriously wacked out Lysa Arryn (she of the Eyrie) from the Game of Thrones, so apparently she’s found a niche playing seriously deranged mothers, and she does a good job here.
The secondary conflict is between Thomasin and her twin siblings, Mercy and Jonas. They are seriously disturbed children, always playing with a goat (a not so subtle symbol of the devil). The children’s accusation of Thomasin being a witch causes much of the family’s downward spiral.
The father, William, who caused his family’s banishment through his sin of pride, tries to keep the family together, but again the very pride that got them banished does him disservice here. Despite his pride, ultimately it’s clear that he’s not a very good farmer, hunter, father, or husband.
It was an interesting movie. I did not find it particularly horrifying. I found it more psychologically suspenseful as the various family members adjust and react to the fear of the supernatural and the familial disintegration.
And, oh, by the way, there was a couple of places where the background music was downright annoying. We do not need to be hit over the head with grating music to understand that the woods might be haunted.