The Witch
I'm finding it a tad bit hard to describe my emotions towards this critically acclaimed horror film The Witch. I went and saw it only yesterday and I have been highly anticipating its release ever since I saw the trailer in theaters for the Puritan tale sometime last year in October. What I expected was what every single magazine and person was saying: It would be scary, it would be spooky, and it would absolutely terrify me beyond reason. Even one of the masters of horror Stephen King was quoted as saying, "The Witch scared the hell out of me." That being said, I walked out of the theater with hardly a tingle on any of my bones and I guess hype had let me down once more; I really need to stop falling for that. 

But, let's talk about where The Witch gets it roots as well as the director of the film, Robert Eggers. Like most horror writers, Eggers dreamt a bit too big when he first pitched ideas for films to companies and the like. His weird and obscure ideas that I imagine fans would personally loved were denied left and right, and it came to the conclusion that he needed to be more tame and settled to et his foot in the door. That's where the idea of The Witch came from. Based on his own fascination as a child with witches, Eggers decided to write a dark New England folktale; needless to say, the Satanic film was accepted. 


After being filmed in Kiosk, Ontario and edited and the like, The Witch premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival where it was very well received. A24 and DirecTV then acquired distribution rights to the film, and seeing the positive reception the film garnered, the companies gave the film a wide release and here we are today. And, now that history is over, let's talk about the film itself. 

The Witch follows the story of a Puritan family moving away from their home settlement due to disagreements in faith with the townsfolk. The story itself is well executed as it follows the family fold itself in due to Katherine's (mother, played by Kate Dickie) obsession over the loss of her baby after he disappears into the woods. The story does move a bit slow, and I came out of the theater wishing that I would have saw more of a confrontation between the Witch and the family and even fantasized a different ending, but for what it was it was pulled off well. 

It's here that I would also like to talk about the general theme that The Witch seems to cover which is hypocrisy and sin. Throughout the film the father lectures his family on faith and honesty, yet he is always trying to cover one thing or another up in some fashion. This, along with many other factors in the film, leads to the downfall of the family with not on paternal figure or sibling trusting the other. There was a thrilling scene in the film where William (father, played by Ralph Ineson) falls down to his knees and prays to God about his pride. It was powerful.

Eggers vision of the film through the camera lens is utterly fascinating. The man knows how to pick the perfect shot no matter where he is, and the long distance shots focused in the woods were always eerie in one manner or the other, even though not a thing on screen betrayed the peace present. Atmosphere and static tension is what made most of Eggers' directing really pop out, and I praise him for that. I really, really cannot say that The Witch had any flaws as far as camerawork or editing goes, and I wouldn't be shocked if this got some nods for best director on circuit via next year's award ceremonies. 

I can say the same about the acting, as well - for the most part. Each of the characters poured their heart and soul out on screen, and watching the family tear itself apart due to the witch of the woods' evil influence was disturbing yet satisfying. I was rather shocked by the young Harvey Scrimshaw's role as the second oldest child Caleb. The maturity found in that boy was shocking, and his understanding of his role was perhaps the best in the film. I will admit that I was sad to see him go when he did, but it is a horror film and I really wasn't expecting many to survive. 

So, now that I've praised The Witch all over the place, this is where I get critical of the film. I do not have many complaints, but where I have complaints seriously knock it down a bit. First off, when characters talked in the film it was bloody hard to understand what they were saying. I mainly had problems when it came to Ralph Ineson and Harvey Scrimshaw in the roles of Caleb and William. Scrimshaw as Caleb had an accent that was sometimes tough to understand, and paired with his higher pitch it kind of hurt his character and role. Ineson as William had quite the opposite problem, as his voice was extremely deep and his voice was sometimes drowned out to accurately understand what he was saying. As minor as this might be, not being able to hear or understand what these characters were properly saying at times took me out of the film. 

The other problem with the film was the pacing and lack of events. The first half of the film I felt was a bit of a drag. There were a lot of moments that could have easily been switched out to create more of that horror film. I understand that character build up and dramatic tension is necessary to craft a horror experience, but The Witch took too much time to get the ball rolling. The second half of the film wasn't terrible at all, though, as that's when everything began to fall apart. However, by that time I was a bit dislodged from the film as it was. 

But, that ends my opinion on the film. The Witch does not stutter due to acting or visual representation; as I said earlier, both are nearly flawless and the cinematography is stellar. But, the movie just had an odd pacing, and paired with dialogue that made me strain my ear, The Witch also brought me out of the film. That might be the reason I didn't find it as scary as so many other fans have, or maybe I just have balls of steel. In either case, The Witch is a grand directorial debut from Eggers and shows potential not only from the film's creator, but also each of the actors attached. Keep your eyes on both Scrimshaw and the hardly-mentioned-in-this-review Anya Taylor-Joy, as I can see both of them gaining a career in the film industry due to their participation with this film. 
350
Brutal Resonance

The Witch

6.0
"Alright"
Genre: Horror
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers
Star actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimschaw, Bathseba Garnett
I'm finding it a tad bit hard to describe my emotions towards this critically acclaimed horror film The Witch. I went and saw it only yesterday and I have been highly anticipating its release ever since I saw the trailer in theaters for the Puritan tale sometime last year in October. What I expected was what every single magazine and person was saying: It would be scary, it would be spooky, and it would absolutely terrify me beyond reason. Even one of the masters of horror Stephen King was quoted as saying, "The Witch scared the hell out of me." That being said, I walked out of the theater with hardly a tingle on any of my bones and I guess hype had let me down once more; I really need to stop falling for that. 

But, let's talk about where The Witch gets it roots as well as the director of the film, Robert Eggers. Like most horror writers, Eggers dreamt a bit too big when he first pitched ideas for films to companies and the like. His weird and obscure ideas that I imagine fans would personally loved were denied left and right, and it came to the conclusion that he needed to be more tame and settled to et his foot in the door. That's where the idea of The Witch came from. Based on his own fascination as a child with witches, Eggers decided to write a dark New England folktale; needless to say, the Satanic film was accepted. 


After being filmed in Kiosk, Ontario and edited and the like, The Witch premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival where it was very well received. A24 and DirecTV then acquired distribution rights to the film, and seeing the positive reception the film garnered, the companies gave the film a wide release and here we are today. And, now that history is over, let's talk about the film itself. 

The Witch follows the story of a Puritan family moving away from their home settlement due to disagreements in faith with the townsfolk. The story itself is well executed as it follows the family fold itself in due to Katherine's (mother, played by Kate Dickie) obsession over the loss of her baby after he disappears into the woods. The story does move a bit slow, and I came out of the theater wishing that I would have saw more of a confrontation between the Witch and the family and even fantasized a different ending, but for what it was it was pulled off well. 

It's here that I would also like to talk about the general theme that The Witch seems to cover which is hypocrisy and sin. Throughout the film the father lectures his family on faith and honesty, yet he is always trying to cover one thing or another up in some fashion. This, along with many other factors in the film, leads to the downfall of the family with not on paternal figure or sibling trusting the other. There was a thrilling scene in the film where William (father, played by Ralph Ineson) falls down to his knees and prays to God about his pride. It was powerful.

Eggers vision of the film through the camera lens is utterly fascinating. The man knows how to pick the perfect shot no matter where he is, and the long distance shots focused in the woods were always eerie in one manner or the other, even though not a thing on screen betrayed the peace present. Atmosphere and static tension is what made most of Eggers' directing really pop out, and I praise him for that. I really, really cannot say that The Witch had any flaws as far as camerawork or editing goes, and I wouldn't be shocked if this got some nods for best director on circuit via next year's award ceremonies. 

I can say the same about the acting, as well - for the most part. Each of the characters poured their heart and soul out on screen, and watching the family tear itself apart due to the witch of the woods' evil influence was disturbing yet satisfying. I was rather shocked by the young Harvey Scrimshaw's role as the second oldest child Caleb. The maturity found in that boy was shocking, and his understanding of his role was perhaps the best in the film. I will admit that I was sad to see him go when he did, but it is a horror film and I really wasn't expecting many to survive. 

So, now that I've praised The Witch all over the place, this is where I get critical of the film. I do not have many complaints, but where I have complaints seriously knock it down a bit. First off, when characters talked in the film it was bloody hard to understand what they were saying. I mainly had problems when it came to Ralph Ineson and Harvey Scrimshaw in the roles of Caleb and William. Scrimshaw as Caleb had an accent that was sometimes tough to understand, and paired with his higher pitch it kind of hurt his character and role. Ineson as William had quite the opposite problem, as his voice was extremely deep and his voice was sometimes drowned out to accurately understand what he was saying. As minor as this might be, not being able to hear or understand what these characters were properly saying at times took me out of the film. 

The other problem with the film was the pacing and lack of events. The first half of the film I felt was a bit of a drag. There were a lot of moments that could have easily been switched out to create more of that horror film. I understand that character build up and dramatic tension is necessary to craft a horror experience, but The Witch took too much time to get the ball rolling. The second half of the film wasn't terrible at all, though, as that's when everything began to fall apart. However, by that time I was a bit dislodged from the film as it was. 

But, that ends my opinion on the film. The Witch does not stutter due to acting or visual representation; as I said earlier, both are nearly flawless and the cinematography is stellar. But, the movie just had an odd pacing, and paired with dialogue that made me strain my ear, The Witch also brought me out of the film. That might be the reason I didn't find it as scary as so many other fans have, or maybe I just have balls of steel. In either case, The Witch is a grand directorial debut from Eggers and shows potential not only from the film's creator, but also each of the actors attached. Keep your eyes on both Scrimshaw and the hardly-mentioned-in-this-review Anya Taylor-Joy, as I can see both of them gaining a career in the film industry due to their participation with this film. 
Feb 20 2016

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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