The Witch

Director: Robert Eggers
Year Released: 2015
Rating: 3.0

Set in Puritanical times, patriarch William (Ralph Ineson), along with his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie), little son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), two twins, oldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and a baby, are excommunicated from their village and forced to live in the woods where a witch preys on them, first stealing (and consuming) their newborn. In terms of tone and ambience it's as sinister as they come, with sustained dread and a distinctive color palette, and Eggers - who based it on folk tales and his own interest in witchcraft - uses convincing old-timey dialogue and shows a talent at directing young actors (Scrimshaw's 'rapture' scene is just astounding). I'm not totally convinced its 'intellectual' side - paranoia, sexual repression and religious fervor are not exclusive to the United States - can quite match its aesthetics, however: the ending, with Thomasin actually 'becoming' the witch she'd long been accused of being (call someone something long enough and they start to believe it?) is a let-down. Still, any movie that can make a hare appear horrifying (to go along with Monty Python and the Holy Grail) is not to be reckoned with.