It doesn’t have to be Halloween for us to enjoy a good horror movie. New England folktale The Witch proves it. Premiering his film at Sundance in 2015, Robert Eggers took home the directing award in the U.S. dramatic category. Now, the movie The Playlist describes as a “nightmarish picture that will make your blood run cold” is finally being released. We couldn’t be more excited…or scared.
In the 17th century, William (played by Ralph Ineson) and his family are banned from their village for religious differences. They are relegated to the outskirts of the forest, finding their own shelter and hunting for their food. After some time on a new farm, their infant son, Samuel, mysteriously disappears under the watch of Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the eldest child with the most responsibilities. Blaming her carelessness for the loss of the baby, her parents decide to sell Thomasin to another family. She and her brother Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) venture into the forest together in an attempt to escape this fate. When their horse gets spooked, the two are separated, and before Caleb can find his way home, an unnerving presence in the woods takes him captive.
Back at the farm, Thomasin is in even more trouble with her family: Her younger twin siblings accuse her of being a witch and claim that Black Phillip, a goat on their farm, told them so. Their suspicions of dark magic are only confirmed when Caleb reappears, clearly possessed by something evil.
Most “scary” movies from The Witch’s generation try to pull out all the stops with violence, gore and loud musical stings designed to make you jump out of your seat. But The Witch falls into a different category, in the company of such recent indie horrors as The Babadook and Goodnight Mommy. These are eerie. They’re so quiet, they’re unsettling. They feature stunningly haunting cinematography and will generally leave you confused—but that’s the point, to get you thinking. The Witch is the kind of film that will still be on your mind a month after you see it, wondering what it was really all about. Check out the trailer below to see what we mean.
The Witch opens in theaters this Friday, February 19.
Photos by Rafy/Courtesy of A24