For months we’ve been hearing praise from critics for The Witch. I’ll admit, we got super pumped to go see this movie. Then audience reactions started pouring in and immediately dampened our enthusiasm. We read reviews claiming the film was slow, boring, and worst of all, not scary. We were convinced it was another overly hyped horror film that just didn’t deliver. On a whim, we decided to give it a chance.
Sunday, we made our way to the cinema with low expectations. Whether or not we walked away impressed by the film didn’t matter. We were supporting the genre, and if nothing else, could finally engage in spoiler-filled discussions after the movie was over.
The verdict: Go see The Witch.
Here are 5 reasons why you should:
1. It is NOT boring.
Maybe audiences had trouble following the language in the film. Maybe they couldn’t get on board with the period setting and costumes. If you can adjust to the world of the film though, this story is not boring or slow at all. The actors are emotionally invested and handle the material like award worthy professionals. Their commitment to the film is enough to immerse you in their environment and have you invested in their situation. To be honest, I was so engaged throughout this movie that I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the seat and use the bathroom.
2. The world of the film is terrifying and unforgiving.
1630 was a scary time to be alive. Far from the comforts of the modern world, these characters are exposed to, and must actively fight against, the elements in order to survive. There’s an obvious threat that you can predict based on the title, but equally dangerous is the land you must learn to tame and the uncontrollable forces of nature you must weather. If you leave the community, you could die. If the crops don’t turn out right, you could die. If the family unit begins to crumble, you could die. Those are bleak circumstances to endure.
3. The themes are dark and disturbing.
Evil is always present, whether you realize it or not, and there’s almost nothing you can do to stop it. That’s a harsh reality to come to terms with. Every day, we do our best to control ourselves, our fate, and the world around us. We comfort ourselves with unwavering faith in a higher power, telling ourselves everything will be alright. Good things happen to good people. Everything happens for a reason. But what if that’s not true? How do you deal when those pillars of security are broken down? That, in my opinion, is one of the most universally horrifying aspects of the human condition, and The Witch is unapologetically willing to explore it.
4. The score.
A large part of the ambiance and mood created by a horror movie comes from the film’s score. A lot of my adoration for It Follows came from the uniquely disturbing musical composition from Disasterpeace. The Witch is another film with a sound that will stop you in your tracks. Composed by Mark Korven, the music in this film is foreboding and builds to an incredibly intense climax. This reason alone is enough to pay to see this film in the theater.
5. The film’s style and approach are a breath of fresh air to the genre.
I haven’t walked out of a horror film excited and inspired by the material in a long time. As horror fans, we ingest a lot of inferior films. We yearn to catch a glimmer of quality and hold out hope for the genre in which we are so deeply invested. This film is that glimmer.
So make the trip to the theater. Spend the money. Whether or not you’re dazzled by The Witch, you will be affected. It makes a hell of an impression. That is what great theatrical, cinematic experiences are all about.
Have you seen The Witch? Leave your thoughts and opinions below!
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