Sunday, October 9, 2016
Last year, all anyone could talk about was The Witch.
“Oh my God you guys, The Witch is EVERYTHING”
“The Witch scared the crap out of me”
“Black Phillip for President”
“Holy crapping crap holy crap scary”
That’s in a nutshell what the general chatter surrounding The Witch was like. So what was I to do while listening to this endless chatter, lonely and removed from any and all new horror movies? Sit in a corner and sulk until it became available to watch instantly obviously. Which brings me to now—or rather last night when I snuggled in to finally watch The Witch. The following is based on true events.
Until about 15 minutes after I finished the movie I didn’t think much of it. My initial thoughts were as follows:
1. Wait, what are they saying?
2. Crazy Aunt Lysa it’s you, you crazy bitch.
3. That knit hat looks awkwardly modern
4. Black Phillip real or imaginary?
5. Seriously though, can ANYONE understand what they are saying?
6. Oh OK I guess Black Phillip does exist and is also a rapist.
7. The end…..wait what just happened?
And then that was it. I turned off the TV, shrugged at my lack of reaction/emotional reaction and went to the bathroom. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Whilst taking a pee, I suddenly became overwhelmed by an inexplicable burden of unease. It was like my brain finally dozed off and my SOUL awakened and grabbed me by the throat and was like, “SERIOUSLY THOUGH WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!”
It’s hard to explain. The Witch is neither overwhelmingly scary or suspenseful yet it creates such a strong atmosphere of unease and latent terror that it’s almost shocking. Sure, at times the film feels a bit slow and painstakingly olden days-ish, complete with so many “Thou art a witch” proclamations I thought for a minute I was back rehearsing my high school production of the Crucible-----but in true witch fashion, The Witch really sneaks up on you. I believe this is where the film truly excels. It scares you without you realizing it.
I blame this mostly on the 2001: A Space Odyssey-like track of terrifying choral screams and also too many goats. Oh plus levitation and things left eerily unexplained. It wasn't what I was expecting and I still feel like maybe I missed a crucial part of why this left people so terrified but then again---no, no I think I'm right. It terrified people because it stayed with them. Right? RIGHT?!
There may be a lot of questions. People may have needed things explained better. But fuck those guys. Sometimes you just want feel a sense of horror, not have it shoved in your face. Sure, we got to see the Witch in the flesh (not counting the Witch's backside) only once, but is that the part everyone will remember? I don't think so. For me it was the agonizing choral screaming and the creepy levitation at the film's conclusion. It will likely be different for you and for everyone and that I think is the mark of a truly terrifying film.