Tuesday, April 19, 2016

'The Witch' Is a Subtle, Unsettling Folktale

The Witch (subtitled A New England Folktale) is a chilling tale about a 17th century Puritan family banished to the New England wilderness, wherein they build a farm near a big forest, attempting to start a new life.  However, evil lurks this nearby forest, and the family’s relationship with each other and faith are strained by a series of disturbing occurrences.

This film had its wide release early this 2016, but it first debuted in last year’s Sundance Festival, where it won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category.  And the great direction is quite apparent all throughout this film.  The slow-paced, immersive narrative is helmed perfectly to preserve an eerie mood and to build up into a genuinely unsettling payoff.

It’s also a well-made movie as far as production elements are concerned.  Though it has a grayish tint, the beautiful camera shots keep it visually mesmerizing.   And the music really works well in creating an effective, fitting atmosphere for such a unique, haunting movie.

It has been a while since I’ve seen a smart, subtle horror film, which The Witch is.  But for fans of traditional, loud horror films that heavily rely on clichés, shocking imagery, and jump-scares – which are very popular and profitable nowadays – this movie will probably not appeal to them.

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