It certainly had some scares (there was one scene at the end that was absolutely terrifying), but otherwise wasn't even really that scary. The best word to describe it is weird. I can't say that it was like X or that it's similar to Y. It's is own thing entirely, and I think it's an acquired taste.
It does get brownie points for historical accuracy. Some of the dialogue was taken straight from primary sources of the era, and it was spot-on. How the women were treated, the religious beliefs (both for the Calvinist Puritans as well as what witches were believed to do), the non-witch related concerns and problems, everything. As a history student, I am thoroughly impressed by the setup. These guys did their research.
Before I get into spoilers, let me say this: The Witch is rated R. R means violence and nudity and (in a good movie) complexity. R means do not take your kids to see this. I shouldn't even have to say that. I certainly shouldn't have had to sit behind two rows of children--ages 5 (5!) through 12--when watching this movie. DO NOT TAKE YOUR KIDS TO SEE THIS.
Ok? Ok, good.
A family gets banished from the Puritan community because they're more Calviny than the Calvinists, or something. They don't really explain it. But anyway, they get the boot and set up shop on the edge of a forest, a day away from civilization by horse, several days away by foot.
Fast forward a year. The farm's been set up. The mom, Catherine, has given birth to Samuel. Everyone's worried about their souls (especially the eldest daughter Thomasin, who's been dragging her feet with her chores, getting snappy with her siblings, touching herself...in other words, she's a teenaged girl).
And then Samuel disappears.
The family thinks it was a wolf. But we see the witch turn the baby into a Samuel slushy sunscreen and go flying out on a broomstick.
Tensions in the family are a bit strained. The twins--who are about seven or eight years old--start shirking Thomasin's authority. The girl, Mercy, even goes so far as to play at being "the witch of the wood." So Thomasin tries scaring them into submission by claiming that she's the witch.
I don't see anything going wrong with that.
The farm's suffering: food's rotting, the goats are giving blood instead of milk, all the classic witch curses.
Then Caleb (the eldest son, about twelve or thirteen) and Thomasin go into the woods to collect food without telling their parents (classic horror movie mistake #1) and get separated (CHMM #2). Thomasin manages to make her way back, but Caleb gets seduced by the witch and soon dies of the curse.
The twins accuse Thomasin of being a witch, she accuses them of talking to the devil--which she says is in the form of the family's black ram--and the father decides enough is enough and closes them all up in the barn with the animals.
The witch comes back and gives Catherine a vision of her dead sons. She goes to breastfeed Samuel, but it turns out to be a raven (no no no no NO, you can see the blood from her nipple on her shirt in the next scene, NOOO). The witch then breaks into the barn for the twins.
William comes outside the next morning to find the barn busted open, the goats killed, the twins gone, and Thomasin just waking up. Before he can do anything, the black ram goes nuts and kills him. Catherine goes nuts and tries to kill Thomasin, who kills her in the self-defense. Then Thomasin goes inside and takes a nap.
So, Thomasin is days away from civilization. She's alone on a farm with a bunch of corpses and dying crops. On the off chance that she does make it back to town in one piece, she'll probably be blamed and accused of being the witch. What's a girl to do?
Make a deal with the devil, of course.
Turns out, the family ram actually is the Devil, and can talk. (Remember how I said one scene was absolutely terrifying? This is that scene. When he started talking I thought I was going to wet my pants.) Thomasin signs her soul over to Satan and goes into the forest, where about half a dozen other witches greet her with open arms.
So...I guess the moral of the story is, "Don't accuse your daughter of witchcraft because there's actually a whole coven of witches in your back yard, and if you keep pushing, your kid will join them."
That's actually pretty legit. This article compared the moral to ISIS (the real witch(es)) and young American Muslims they try to recruit (Thomasin).
So yeah. That was my Friday night. How was yours? :P
Thanks for reading!
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