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Snoogans's Movie Reviews (3276)

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Witch, The (2016) 
Authentic, Disturbing Horror Masterclass
4/4 stars

'The Witch' is a satisfying breath of relief for the horror genre. We NEVER get something of this genre specific caliber in mainstream cinemas. To the distributers who paid for this service: THANK YOU! After sitting through all the tired, boring, cliched, stupid, wretched, company mandated crap that plagues movie screens, we finally get a true horror film. 'The Witch' is steeped in the lore of the pioneering days in early America. The setting, the production design, the characters, and (especially) their dialogue, are all one hundred percent historically accurate. This detailed aspect makes the film immediately immersive. The story focuses solely on one family who have moved - or been partially kicked-out - from the safety of their group settlement to brave the land on their own. They are inexperienced in living off the land and clash over means for survival. This alone makes for an involving period-piece style drama. However, as the title suggests, there is witchcraft at play. The presence of supernatural elements are always felt, but not always shown. Through long static shots, eerie visuals, and hair-raising (yet subtle) music, a constant feeling of impending doom looms over the slow-build of events. As things in the forrest become increasingly weird, so rises the paranoia within the family. The early abduction of their infant, and their fiercely practiced religious beliefs, feed into their distrust of each other. It's a harsh depiction of a family being demolished from within. The haunting presence of the 'witch' is made stronger because of this. Every time we get a 'scare' sequence it's genuinely disturbing. There are no traditional scares; no jumps, loud noises, chases, or showcases of the evil entity. The tensity of this film is held by a sustained, palpable amount of dread that gets under your skin from the beginning and stays there. There is not a single release throughout the runtime. It all culminates in a violent climax topped off with a very unsettling revelation to close out. This left me shaken. 'The Witch' is a tremendous work of filmmaking and a great genre exercise all in one.


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