Movie Review: The Witch

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Movie Review: The Witch

Toni recommends watching this nontraditional witch story as we head into Halloween season

Written by Toni Jackson, Teen Aide at Georgetown and Teen Council Member since 2019. 

The Witch
is my number one comfort film and it holds up with every watch. Released in October 2015, the movie follows an excommunicated family in 1650s England dealing with the aftermath of the youngest child's disappearance. The cast includes Anya-Taylor Joy (Split, Emma), Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones, Chernobyl), and Kate Dickie (Tinsel Town). All three give great performances in which you feel as though they are genuinely stuck in this situation. The film is Robert Eggers’ directorial debut which is astounding given the success of the movie. The budget of the film was a mere $4 million dollars and it made $40 million dollars opening weekend, making it the sixth highest-grossing A24 film.

The main themes are religion, sin, faith, and furthermore feminism as similarly seen in other works dealing with witches and women. Movies like The Craft (1996) or The Love Witch (2016) deal with witchcraft and (in The Witch and The Love Witch's case) satanism but from a different perspective than the traditional mainstream lens. They show such topics not as a corruption of womanhood but rather a freer and something that results in women having control over their own lives despite societal expectations. Like the aforementioned movies and other A24 movies, The Witch has somewhat of a cult following. Mine personal favorite character, as well as the favorite of many others, Black Phillip (yes, he is a goat) had a twitter account in 2016 amassing over 10 thousand followers. There are many things to like about this movie including but not limited to: the comfortable 90 minute run time, the wonderful score, and it being essentially a long ASMR video both visually and audibly. I wouldn’t see this as a movie to watch with family but more as a movie to watch on your own and then share with friends. If you ever plan on watching Eggers’ sophomore film The Lighthouse (2019), I encourage you to watch The Witch first. Not only does it make his style apparent in a more palatable way but it additionally makes the movie better and shows why Eggers’ is one of my favorite recent directors. I recommend this film if you like movies that are mysterious, open-ended, and give you just a slight headache. 5/5.

You can stream The Witch on Kanopy using your library card.