‘The Witch’: great premise, poor execution

Photo courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com
Anya Taylor-Joy  portrays Thomasin, a child of heretics, in the new supernaturally disturbing movie, “The Witch.”Photo courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com Anya Taylor-Joy portrays Thomasin, a child of heretics, in the new supernaturally disturbing movie, “The Witch.”

Paranormal film lacks horror and fails in captivating viewers

Review by Adam Winn, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com Anya Taylor-Joy  portrays Thomasin, a child of heretics, in the new supernaturally disturbing movie, “The Witch.”

Photo courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com
Anya Taylor-Joy portrays Thomasin, a child of heretics, in the new supernaturally disturbing movie, “The Witch.”

Horror film fanatics are always looking forward to a new film that could be the next big hit, which people could watch and appreciate years from today.

Nowadays, it’s rare for a good horror picture to be released that isn’t either a remake or a sequel, and is also innovative and frightening.

Early reviews have been favorable to the newly released film “The Witch,” with big names like Stephen King tweeting “The Witch scared the hell out of me.” Unfortunately, viewers are likely to have a different reaction altogether and leave the flick more bored than bewitched by the time it reaches its over-the-top conclusion.

The film takes place in Massachusetts during the 1630s and pre-dates the Salem Witch Trials by a few decades. The plot centers on a Puritan family that is banished on the grounds of heresy from the colony they were a part of and is forced to live as outcasts in the wilderness.

Not long after building and settling into their new home, the family starts to be plagued by paranormal phenomena, beginning with the disappearance of the parents’ youngest infant child.

As more supernatural events unfold, each family member slowly turns on one another, unsure of what is truly going on around them.

First off, while this film has been categorized as part of the horror genre, it’s more of a disturbing, psychological thriller than anything else. Viewers are consistently waiting for something really scary to happen as the plot progresses and nothing ever does. Not to say that the film doesn’t have distressing moments, but those instances are few and far between.

The film’s dialogue is in the vernacular of the time and while it does add to the realism of the story, it makes it extremely difficult to understand what the actors are saying. The language spoken is almost so indecipherable that it would have made the film easier to understand had there been subtitles on the screen.

Most horror films released in the past few years have depended heavily on jump scares and gore in an attempt to shock the audience. This film has very little of either and tries to rely on its ominous soundtrack and cinematography to frighten the audience instead. While these things do create an unsettling atmosphere for the movie, it never accomplishes its goal of scaring the viewers.

The film’s pace is also long and drawn out to the point that it’s almost  unbearable to watch. The storyline contains many scenes of long dialogue, and it makes the viewers temporarily forget that they are watching a horror film and not a period drama instead.

While the film is called “The Witch,” the actual witch in the film is more of a sub-plot than the main story. The central plot primarily focuses on the destruction and dissolution of the family as they slowly begin to turn on one another.

The acting is, however, extremely well done and definitely the best part about the movie. The performance that sticks out the most is that of the teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) who appears to be an innocent girl trapped in circumstances outside her control. She becomes the scapegoat for her religious family to blame all of the transpiring events going on around them.

As far as horror films go, “The Witch” is subpar at best. The flick has unnerving background music and menacing, disconsolate scenery that help set the mood, but otherwise the rest is just a letdown.

Critics from sources like Rolling Stone and the Washington Post have given the film positive reviews for being “terrorizing” and “unique.” Nevertheless, just because this so-called “horror” picture is different from the other genre-related films that have been released lately, doesn’t make this particular movie exceptional, especially when compared to classic films like “Halloween” or “The Shining.”

If the viewer wants to watch a film that has few disturbing moments and some respectable acting performances, then this is a good film to check out. However, if the viewer is expecting to be frightened or looking forward to seeing something truly spell binding, regrettably the audience is in for a major disappointment.

that of the teenaged-daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) who appears to be an innocent girl trapped in circumstances outside her control. She becomes the scapegoat for her religious family to blame all of the transpiring events going on around them.

As far as horror films go, “The Witch” is subpar at best. The flick has unnerving background music and menacingly, disconsolate scenery that help set the mood, but otherwise the rest is just a letdown.

Critics from sources such as, “Rolling Stone” and the “Washington Post” have given the film positive reviews for being “terrorizing” and “unique.” Nevertheless, just because this so-called “horror” picture is different from the other genre-related films that have been released lately, doesn’t make this particular movie exceptional, especially when compared to classic films, like “Halloween” or “The Shining.”

If the viewer wants to watch a film that has few disturbing moments and some respectable acting performances, then this is a good film to check out. However, if the viewer is expecting to be frightened or looking forward to seeing something truly spell-binding, regrettably the audience is in for a major disappo