ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 17, 2016
By Steve Newton
The Witch is a smartly shot, well-acted, atmospheric fright flick that aims to shed light on humanity’s dark history of religious persecution and paranoia.
There’s just way too much talking goin’ on, is all.
It opens with patriarch William (Ralph Ineson) being exiled from his 17th-century New England village by a Puritan court at odds with his fundamentalist ways. His forlorn family depart with all their worldly possessions and settle down on the edge of a dense wood. Somehow, they manage to acquire livestock, including a goat named Black Phillip that winds up being an unholy pain in the ass (and other areas) later on.
Despair begins to engulf the clan after baby Sam disappears during a peekaboo session with teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). The titular hag has stolen him away for something unspeakable, but precious little else happens in the first hour of the film, which mostly depicts the group’s day-to-day struggle to get by as they solemnly blather on about faith and judgment and Christ the whole time.
No wonder they got banished.
Prepubescent son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) gets consumed by the thought of Sam being in hell, but that doesn’t stop him from sinfully eyeing Thomasin’s cleavage.
Like their pious parents, the kids are adept at jabbering endlessly in Olde English, but just before you OD on thee, thine, and thou art, some more freaky witch shit happens. It’s too little too late, though. And nothing from a coven could be quite as scary as all that godforsaken chatter anyway.