New England and witches has been something that has gone hand in hand with the cultural influence that the well known Salem witch trials and its greater popularity with Henry Miller’s play The Crucible based on it. After a fairly accurate filming of the time period, the new movie, The Witch, written and directed by newcomer Robert Eggers, brings moviegoers this very atmospheric and psychological horror film.
When a family is cast out of the very Christian plantation they live in (possibly because of politics and disagreements rather than religion itself), they settle far away in the wilderness in a large field skirted by a pine forest. Life is hard and things don’t go as planned. When one of the children goes missing, the family begins to accelerate in their breakdown until hysteria begins to seep into their everyday lives.
Director Eggers, even with much of it filmed in Ontario, tries to bring a realism to the setting using actual architecture of the period and possibly no ambient or electric lighting to film the going-on’s. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy in what some say is a breakout performance and including roles by Game of Throne veterans, Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson, the film debuted at Sundance in 2015 to rave reviews. Dark Discussions takes a look at this new release and gives their opinions, both on merit and meaning.