Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

‘The Witch’ lives deliciously

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Diego Crespo, Opinion Editor

Following in the footsteps of recent critical darling horror movies, “The Witch” burst onto the film festival circuit to near unanimous acclaim. Everyone fell in love with the family that was tormented by a witch in the woods, but who is Black Philip? What’s up with that weird rabbit? And is it really that good? Short answer: Hell yes. Long answer: Keep reading.

“The Witch” follows a Puritan family that is so religious, they are banished from their settlement to continue their faith. Once they arrive on new ground, they stake their claim. Unbeknownst to them, a witch inhabits the woods no more than 100 feet from their home.

Unlike most movies that deal with the fractured psychological aspects and shaky religious beliefs (think The Crucible), Director Robert Eggers lets the audience know upfront there is something haunting this family. The titular witch makes her entrance to the audience around the 10-15 minute mark, but she continues to hide her presence from the family.

This is not a traditional horror movie. It replaces traditional plotting for atmosphere. It is not a movie filled to the brim with scares in a popcorn-movie sense. It is a movie interested in ideas of faith, corrupted beliefs, the idea of true evil and all it encompasses. The forest often resembles a dense wall or maze, surrounding the family in an impenetrable thicket.

The cinematic scope of the film is straight and narrow, but it opens to a wide thematic purpose through its visuals. The scenery and cinematography feels enclosed, even when the characters are in a seemingly endless view of a foreboding forest.

It is not a movie filled to the brim with scares in a popcorn-movie sense. It is a movie interested in ideas of faith, corrupted beliefs, the idea of true evil and all it encompasses.”

Shot mostly with natural lighting, the heavy atmosphere lends itself to a raw emotional compass unknown to the standard genre picture. A naturalistic grey hue presents a layer of thematic morality which plays into the finale in a big way. No spoilers, but when you watch the film, notice the subtle color changes in the final moments of the film.

Music accompanies a variety of disturbing, extended sequences. Sharp violin scratches and violent noise doesn’t directly assault your person as much as it grabs you by the hand and seduces you into the lulls of presumed security. This is a soundtrack for the ages.

The real star of the movie is young up-and-comer Anya Taylor-Joy. Her performance finds her alongside classic scream queens, but the route her character takes when placed against the family is one that will continue to grow in respectability.

“The Witch” will stand the test of time alongside the best of the horror genre. It’s a modern “Rosemary’s Baby,” a fantasy version of “Alien,” a modern classic. This movie lives deliciously.

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
‘The Witch’ lives deliciously