The Witch bewitches and bedazzles in its examination of sin.
Ever since it won a directing award for Robert Eggers at Sundance in 2015, horror fans have eagerly awaited the release of The Witch. Indeed, it does live up to its hype as one of the mostly beautifully produced horror films to come down the pike in many a moon. It recreates the mid-17th century in stunning detail as it tells its tale of a Pilgrim family struggling to avoid sin and temptation in New England. The film's production design, costumes, score, cinematography, acting and editing are as good as it gets in the genre. Yet it doesn't quite make the viewers leap out of their seats in terror. In actuality, this is more of a psychological thriller than a typical horror release. It's more of a dissertation on the difficulties in trying to live a pious life. And while it sustains a terribly uneasy sense of dread from its first second to last, audiences desiring to scream themselves silly at the Cineplex are warned to temper expectations. This is an intellectual film examining the evil at play in every man, woman and yes, child. And while the devil shows up in person at the end to close the deal, all the work has been done for him by a family that woefully fails to live up to God's standards.