The Witch, 2016
dir. Robert Eggers
Absolutely stunning and haunting.
The fact that this is a new horror film makes me really happy, most of all, because it means not all it lost. (Though to be fair, outside the mainstream Paranormal Activity stuff, there have been some pretty solid horror films recently.) This film is very beautiful, very simple, and most of all, quite scary. The music is those shrill choirs that get right under your skin, and sets a pretty grim tone throughout the picture. The greyness of it is very effective as well, to convey a feeling of desolation and grief. It makes it perfectly plausible that a mistreated young girl would want to run away to join a coven.
What interested me most about this though was what seemed like a commentary on young women living at that time. Thomasin is not a witch, she takes care of the farm, helps her parents, and yet she is the first suspect, because young women were always the first suspects at that time. And today, even. “What was she wearing? What was she drinking?” I think it’s interesting to look at this and think of the helplessness of a young women dealing with an entire world (because at that time their family was their world) who are against them and who tell them they are lying. It’s no accident Thomasin is in the cusp of womanhood, her body is developing, and even her mother at the end calls her a slut, accuses her of seducing her brother and her father. It’s great when period films can successfully comment on the issues of the present.
Go watch this now! Seriously.