The Witch has recently been hailed as the years best horror, I feel a lot of Clickbait out there is hyping this movie to greater heights then what it deserves. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed it, but I felt The Witch dragged at points and could have included a little more movement in story instead relying upon pent up suspense that led to nowhere and misleading music promising events that never manifested. There was some jump scares and gruesome cringe worthy scenes but the movie as a whole left me wanting and that wanting was a book of similar aspect.
In past blogs (see my Book Review section) I have made clear on my feelings about transferring books into movies, sometimes internal struggles and articulate character development are hard to transcribe onto the screen from paper. I feel that The Witch suffered from the lack of respect for subject material that a book would have given. I left the theater with the thought “That was an ok at best horror movie,” but if I had read a book with a similar design and in-depth personal conflicts, explaining character behavior I would have been more satisfied with a greater sense of fear for what I have read instead of feeling discontent with what I’ve seen.
The story is about a group of Puritan Migrants in 1630 New England, the father William (Ralph Ineson) has committed an offense to the leaders of their plantation and chose exile instead of another type of punishment. He takes his family consisting of 5 children and his wife, to a clearing at the edge of an unknown forest starting a new self sufficient home. After they have established themselves the infant boy is taken while under the care of their eldest daughter, and that is where the true conflict begins.
This devout family of Christians, cast away from one home and leaving another an ocean away, begin to shroud themselves in guilt from religious betrayals, lying to one another, with each member holding a personal sin against the family.
Their shortcomings come to light and each feels distrust, finger pointing develops accusing responsibility for the conduit from the devil that has befallen upon their family. Despite their strict convictions into their religious beliefs, their fear and misgivings allow the evil in the woods to tear their family apart and lose their faith.
There was very authentic language used and it was obvious that the crew did their research on 1630 New England culture and religious devotion but there was a stagnated pace that was anticlimactic and lifeless. A book would have breathed soul into the tale, giving the concepts portrayed justice as well as a disturbing composition of the evil that haunts the family that in the movie is never fully refined. The Witch was an interesting idea but could have been better, I would have really enjoyed the book that wasn’t written with potential to be as great as William Blatty’s The Exorcist, then again the Clickbait on the internet says differently and the critics (despite the fact that they are NOT horror fans) hailed as a work of art.