The Witch scored a 3 out of 5 hatchets from Horror Author, A.R. Braun.
This film is so nasty and dark, it left me stunned. In this abominable plot, a Puritan family is cast out of their village and must live in the forest because English settler William, the husband and father of the family (Ralph Ineson), argued against the church. Can anyone say “Tears of Korah”? (Tourniquet song)
In the woods, strange things happen. While the eldest daughter, Thomasin (the gorgeous Anya Josephine Marie Taylor-Joy), plays peek-a-boo with the infant of the family, Samuel (Axtun Henry Dube), the baby disappears. Soon, we learn there are witches living in the forest, and one of them has kidnapped the newborn to do terrible things to it. Let’s put it this way: She did the same thing to the infant as the male witch in The Warlock did to a little kid.
Devastated over Samuel’s loss, the wife and mother, Katherine (Kate Dickie), weeps and prays, for little Samuel wasn’t baptized. Katherine blames Thomasin for Samuel’s loss.
Thomasin finds her little brother, Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), checking a trap in the forest. They spot a hare, which sends their horse into a panic. Their dog, Fowler, follows, and Caleb chases. Then he becomes lost in the woods and finds a hovel, where a beautiful young maid becomes a crone and reaches out and grabs him.
William brings Thomasin home and Katherine chides her eldest daughter. Later, at night, Thomasin finds Caleb naked, sick, and delirious outside the home. The next day, the twins, Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson), sing songs with Black Philip, the family goat. William accuses Thomasin of being a witch. When Thomasin milks the nanny goat, only blood comes out, proving him right. When Caleb wakes, Katherine urges the family to pray, but the twins act like they’ve forgotten the words. Caleb proclaims his salvation by giving his heart to Jesus before dying.
Things go haywire from there. William locks Thomasin and the twins, who he believes are all witches, in the goat house. Thomasin denies being a witch, but the twins have no words. William has his new come-to-Jesus moment when he repents for being prideful and leaving the church. Katherine has a vision of Caleb holding Samuel. She tries to breast-feed, but a raven pokes at her breast, leaving her bloody.
William wakes, but the stables are in rubble, the twins are gone, and Thomason is unconscious. When she wakes, William says he’s going to take her back to town to be tried as a witch, but Black Philip gores him to death. Enraged and mad as a hatter, Katherine blames Thomasin for everything, but the latter kills her mother with a bill hook.
The final girl, Thomasin thinks she’s alone…but she’s not. A malevolent spirit has taken a shine to her, his chosen. Wickedness abounds in the woods. The ending will flip your lid!
This is one of the best—and most sinister—horror films I’ve ever seen. You’re cheating yourself if you miss it!
A. R. BRAUN is a horror author with fourteen publication credits, one a dark poem, including “NREM Sleep” in the D.O.A. anthology; “Freaks” in Downstate Story magazine; “The Unwanted Visitors” in the Vermin anthology; “Coven” in the Heavy Metal Horror anthology; “Remember Me?” in Horror Bound magazine; “Shades of Gray (the Symbiosis of Light and Dark)” in Micro Horror magazine; and “The Interloper” in the Bonded by Blood 2: a Romance in Red anthology, among others.
You can reach him on Twitter as @ARBraun and on Instagram as a.r._braun.