I don’t typically plan to do movie reviews here, but having hit on two of my passions, historical costuming and the history of witchcraft, I sort of feel compelled to write out my thoughts post-screening.
I went in to this movie knowing two things.
- According to MSN, The Church of Satan gave The Witch it’s endorsement
- Stephen King said it “Scared the hell out of me.”
I love a good tense horror flick. But I think the current gore/slasher flick concept of horror is disgusting more than terrifying, so I don’t typically watch so-called horror films. This is definitely NOT a slasher flick. And for what the Church of Satan ACTUALLY said, I would refer you to the review penned by Magus Peter H. Gilmore, which does contain spoilers, but accurately presents the highlights and takeaways from the film.
For me, I approached this movie more from a historian’s perspective, and as such found it completely fascinating. It was meticulously researched and the attention to detail is spectacular. The costuming was impeccably researched and created and the acting was very well done, impressively so given how much weight the actors had to carry with such a limited cast and minimal background provided. As someone who spent her formative years obsessively researching the history of witchcraft, from The Inquisition through the Salem Witch Trials, it was gripping.
If you approach the movie taking it as absolute face value, that these things ARE happening, and are not just hysteria as a result of extreme religious beliefs, then it is profoundly disturbing. It becomes a recruitment video for a cult, and you can see how the sins and imperfections of an extremely religious family leads to their ultimate destruction and the conversion of what was quite possibly the only innocent person in the family to a very dark path indeed.
If you watch this movie expecting to be scared to death on the say so of Stephen King…well, I can only say the King of Horror scares much easier than I do.