Just in time for the Easter season, a new cinematic tale of family, faith, and witches. What, you thought I was going to be talking about Risen? The film in which Voldemort’s brother Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) go hunting for another Chosen One? Because there are lots of theaters apparently promoting Risen and The VVitch together.
Let’s first talk about that title, The VVitch. Yes, those ARE two capital “V”s rather than one large capital “W”. Writer/Director Robert Eggers explained during our screening of the film at SF’s Alamo Drafthouse:
“during the time period, it wasn’t uncommon for printers to break their large point W’s and instead use V’s, and I thought it looked cool.”
The film is being called a “modern horror masterpiece”, and I have to disagree. Aside from one truly bloody sequence, there isn’t anything “horror” about it. I would definitely call it a “suspenseful supernatural occult campfire story” more than outright horror.
As a piece of historic cinema, I thought it was spectacular. The dialog of period speech was inspired, the costuming and color palette really brought home where/when these people were. Anya Taylor-Joy and Harvey Scrimshaw gave such chilling performances, carrying a macabre tome such as this can’t be easy for the young actress/actor, but they did so believably.
Also, we HAVE to talk about Black Phillip. Because he’s pretty awesome.
It premiered to audiences at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival, and the synopsis as released reads:
“New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest — within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately — animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.”
I think The VVitch will find a home alongside such horror/supernatural films like The Wickerman (original, I like to pretend the remake never happened), happy endings for naked fire-dancing conjurers are too few and far between.
The R-rated film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson. The Witch opens in theaters on February 19th 2016.
The official Trailer: