Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Witch (2015)

When I first heard about this film, roughly six months ago, I was immediately impressed by the story but really wasn't digging on the title. Couldn't they have come up with a better title? Just "The Witch", really? Overly simple titles bug me for some reason - unless that simple title serves a purpose and properly represents the story...

After finally seeing this film last week I now totally understand why this emotionally graphic, intense, and complex movie is simply titled: The Witch.

Despite my initial dissatisfaction of the title - I approached this movie, my Husband and brother in tow, with an open mind and a small chuckle to myself. Several days earlier I had found an article where Satanists were publicly voicing their approval of this film. I posted this rather interesting article on Twitter and was quickly notified that Horror Habit Blog was added to someone's Twitter list titled: "People Who Talk About Satan". Oh, Twitter.

This movie is a stark film that will leave you cold and afraid. Straight up. The incredibly detailed set and costumes will promptly pull you into the nightmare that was 1600's Colonial America (witches or not). I'm not sure what part of our culture has instilled a fear of early colonial costumes in me, but whenever I see these outfits I'm already terrified.

This movie is a fantastic study on the era and the people who made it worse. In a time when fear, starvation, religious fanaticism, isolation, and daily brutality in every form was the expectation, its no wonder that people thought witches were out to get them at every turn. 

Through the duration of the film I kept thinking back to my visit to Salem, Massachusetts a few years ago. My memories were primarily focused on the Jonathan Corwin House (aka The Witch House). Corwin was the primary judge presiding over the unfortunate Salem Witch Trials. This very very very spooky home demonstrated to shuddering degrees, to me, the daily horrors of simply living (and living as a women, no less) in the time. The kitchen scared me most. It didn't look like a kitchen, it looked like a torture chamber. I never wanted to hug a grocery store, refrigerator, or food processor more - in all my life. 

The Witch shows these frightening daily toils exceptionally well. Oh, and to make matters more terrifying, there's a witch and a demon goat. If the failing crops weren't enough...

Although minimal in blood and gore, there are images here that will stick with you for the rest of your life (and will likely end up in your nightmares). The dialog is also minimal but at times I could have used some subtitles. That's okay though, I didn't need to understand every word to know that things were going to erupt in chaos at any moment. 

Folks, I need to share something. It's announced at the very end of the film, but I feel all should know even before watching the movie: nearly all the dialog is taken directly from court transcripts, letters, and diaries of the time, making the movie a triumph in horror and an absolute failing grade in humanitarianism. Humans are just the worst sometimes. 

In all: This is a great horror show. I have chills now just remembering it. 

Watch with historians, philosophers, folk lore enthusiasts, and if you really want to spice things up a bit, Satanists. Pairs with scraps of food, moldy bread, or perhaps a small bowl of unidentifiable soup. Dark beer. Dark dark dark beer. 

I saw this movie in the theater. You should see this movie in the theater. If you happen to miss it in theaters then please be sure to watch it at home, on a cold, dark night alone.

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