The Film: The Witch
What we know so far: A highly devout Christian family in 17th century puritanical New England decides to live isolated on the edge of an impenetrable forest, in praise of their faith. When their infant son goes missing and odd demonic things occur, they suspect their daugher to be a witch, leading to a breakdown in trust.
The Trailer: (Official #1)
Dan: Atmosphere coats every edge of every frame in this beautifully photographed trailer. A creepy baritone narration leads the proceeding. The camera often moves with subtlety, pushing in or slightly gliding across. I get a Kubrick / Mallick vibe with these shots. I appreciate the purposeful framing and deliberate point of view shots. The Witch looks like it could spread into the mainstream, garnering support from more than just die hard horror fans. There’s more than scares and gore in store — there is drama too. Awarded at Cannes, this film has a chance to leap out of horror stereotypes.
David: Straight away, Jarin Blaschke’s cinematography is breathtaking in this stylish horror film that promises more than just cheap scares and gore. Themes of zealotry, paranoia, sexual promiscuity and more echo from this dark, brooding and chilling trailer. Directed by Robert Eggers, who won the Sundance directing award for this film, uses slow pans and tight close ups to set tension and mood. Like The Babadook (2014), this trailer has an icy fright that hints at much more than what we are seeing, and seems to challenge the viewer to consider more than that what the title implies.
What to look for in the trailer
Dan Says: For my Sneak Peek Moment, a young girl plays peek-a-boo with her infant sibling. She covers her eyes with her hands, reappears and says, “Boo!” The baby coos with glee. She does it again, covering her eyes. However, this time when she removes her hands and says, “Boo!”, the child is gone! Disappeared. Taken by the witch in the woods. Or so we are meant to believe. This film looks to examine how far we’ll go for our beliefs. It may delve into how devotion negatively influences one’s mind.
David Says: Filled with lots of clever nods to witchcraft and tropes of the like, there is an especially great Sneak Peek Moment when Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), a young boy is walking alone among the trees gripping a rifle that is far too big and unwieldy. He calls out, “Who’s there?” He is clearly terrified and perhaps lost. He comes across a mossy dirt hut built into the fallen trees and overgrown rocks. From the shadows of the black door, a single, female foot emerges from the dark in a truly frightening image. This is possibly the titular witch and yet as it slash cuts to Tomison (Anya Taylor-Joy) the eldest daughter, we are left to wonder her real identity. A compelling moment in trailer that absolutely delivers.