New England, 1630: William and Katherine try to lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. 'The Witch' is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own sins, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.
The characters frequently accuse each other of 'signing the book', and a book is offered to Katherine and Thomasin to sign by Black Phillip. In Puritan theology, a person recorded a covenant with the Devil by signing, or making their mark, in the Devil's book "with pen and ink" or with blood. Only with such signing, according to the beliefs of the time, did a person actually become a witch and gain demonic powers, such as appearing in spectral form to do harm to another. See more »
One mistake in the dialogue is the incorrect usage of the personal pronouns "Thou" and "You".
During the 17th century, "You" was reserved for formal situations, and when one was addressing someone of higher status/rank. "Thou", on the other hand, was used in personal/informal settings and between peers and close relations (similar to French Tu vs. Vous).
Throughout the film, the characters use thou and you interchangeably, however a close-knit family such as theirs would not have likely addressed each other with the formal "You". See more »
[before the court]
What went we out into this wilderness to find? Leaving our country, kindred, our fathers houses? We have travailed a vast ocean. For what? For what?
We must ask thee to be silent!
Was it not for the pure and faithful dispensation of the Gospels, and the Kingdom of God?
No More! We are *your* judges, and not you ours!
I cannot be judged by false Christians, for I have done nothing, save preach Christ's true Gospel.
Must you continue to dishonor the laws of the ...
[...] See more »
Great Atmosphere, Great Sound, Different Kind of Movie
I found "The Witch" to be a generally unnerving film, and one which--though I would not place it in the pantheon of scariest flicks I've ever seen--had some moments that I'll not easily forget.
The atmosphere Eggers creates alone is enough to wrench serious dread from scenes other directors would be otherwise unable to make even remarkable. The score, too, helps cull this dark tone and adds life to a film that can be borderline tedious.
That being said, "The Witch" is not for everyone. It is strange, slow but steady, gruesome at points, and almost un-watchable at others. There are two sides to this film; one which I had hoped the director would stick to concerning the family and their struggle with religion and isolation; and another which plays as an undercurrent to most of the film and then takes charge in the end. Sadly, it is this second side which keeps me from giving the film a better score, and that ultimately hurts the film in the very final scene.
Overall, I enjoyed "The Witch" and its originality. Eggers has achieved a film that, for all its low-budget and independent film background, feels richer and better made than many horror entries of late. Should you decide to see it, a word of caution: do not expect a fast-paced movie full of jump scares and creepy crawlies emerging left and right. As the opening credits remind the audience, this is a folktale. One that does not shy away from exploring the real dark places.
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