There seems to be a lot of weird but very enticing films lately that show the power of the human spirit by watching people overcome twisted things in order to find out who they truly are and freedom from said twisted things. A good example would be the infamous Room film where a woman and her son do their best to escape a sadistic person who traps them. So what happens when you apply this kind of thing to a horror movie? You get The Witch, a movie that focuses on a young lady and her family as they overcome supernatural trials to find out who or what they really are.
While my colleague Carlos reviewed the theatrical release of the movie, I’ll just give a brief summary of the plot. First time director Robert Eggers starts things off in 1630 New England where a small family has been excommunicated from its plantation due to the father (Ralph Ineson) having problems with principles of the people there. Not long after moving his family to a cabin in the woods, his wife gives birth to a young boy they name Samuel. Their daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) plays with the baby one day only to have it taken away by some supernatural entity they think is a witch. What follows is the family’s slow fall into madness and despair as their strict religious values go up against a greater evil that threatens to tear them apart both figuratively and literally.
While the horrors are a bit to take in, I actually enjoyed watching the madness and chills unfold here. The actors and their characters are right on point, especially with Anya Taylor-Joy and her take on Thomasin having to suppress her needs and wants for the sake of making her father and family happy. Then there’s the other freaky things that befall them such as another one of their children becoming gravely ill, and a spooky goat that graces the Blu-ray’s cover they name Black Philip who plays a big part in the film’s story and conclusion that may put some off, but I felt it was a twisted but fitting ending.
While you can tell the film was made on a budget, the high definition presentation still makes things look and sound great here, and the extras keep things going after the last scene is shown. Director and writer Robert Eggers has an audio commentary track that showcases a lot of interesting things he wanted to make sure were captured in the movie, while “The Witch: A Primal Folktale” has interviews with him along with the cast and crew as their share their takes on the film. “Salem Panel Q&A” features Eggers, Taylor-Joy and leading Salem witch-hunt historian Richard Trask along with author Brunonia Barry to discuss the Salem witch trials and how they’ve influenced not only history, but the film industry as well.
The Witch combines disturbing horror with a coming of age tale in a way that will appeal to fans of both genres. A believe cast of characters, a twisted but great story, and some impressive extras round out a disc you won’t mind sacrificing to your Blu-ray player now and again.