The Witch takes place in a Puritan New England colony where a family has recently been banished. The family moves to the edge of a forest and build a small farm. Several months later when the oldest daughter is playing with her infant brother, the baby is taken leaving no trace. They begin to face many obstacles, which point to a witch tormenting them.
The cast gives an amazing performance given the challenges of the script. The dialogue is all 17th century in vernacular, which at times makes the film difficult to understand though it does keep the audience in the movie with the lack of anachronisms. Anya Taylor-Joy is fantastic as the older daughter, Thomasin. The rest of the cast is also very believable and bring a lot of gravitas to the film.
The 17th century New England setting is filled with dread. At no point does the Puritan way of life look appealing or seem to have any relief from the toils and drudgery of their lifestyle. The skies are grey and the clothing drab. Visually it creates a sense of melancholy that builds the story’s psychological scares. The music accompanying this setting is chilling and has a nightmarish quality that can be felt in movies like The Shining and It Follows.
The movie relies on its tone for the scares. There are no jump scares or exploitative gore to cheaply assault the audience. The movie is haunting and will linger long after the film has ended. It is a definite must see for horror movie fans or fans of the psychological thriller genre. The Witch is an impressive movie, which is sure to entertain despite the slow pace of the story.