The Witch Portrays Familiar American Elements of Classic Films and old Folklore
By Samantha Contreras
A New England Folklore,“The Witch” hit theaters February 19 of this year. The film was written and directed by Robert Eggers. Portraying some of the most darkest of times in New World history with a twist of supernatural occurrences that will leave audiences saying, “What did I just watch?”
On it’s surface, it is the story of a Puritan 17th-century English family basically facing an American nightmare.
The movie is filled with supernatural horror, while introducing a more severely oppressive form of Christianity that influenced many of the colonists during this time period.
In an interview with Screen Daily, director Robert Eggers has stated, “The kind of research I did here was wild and obsessive, almost disgusting,” he said. “I have always been into folklore and fairy tales and New England’s past, so with this film I wanted to create an archetypal New England horror story. Something that would feel like an inherited nightmare of a Puritan family.”
It was more loss than questions answered for the poor settlers, living in the midst of the woods, after being banished from their village for reason’s kept hidden.
A little slow at first but this gives a more indepth analysis for all of the characters.
There’s a stubborn husband who believes he can take care of his family on his own, a mother who has always put her children first, a humble boy’s challenge with puberty, twins with too much time on their hands, and the oldest daughter facing guilt and question of her own faith as the story progresses.
Of course the title is called “The Witch,” which focuses on the way they are represented throughout history.
Staten Islander, Carol Lagier had a lot to say about her take on the way the movie took its route about witches.
“I was expecting it to be like The Crucible, I actually didn’t watch the trailer either but you hear the word witch and you’re thinking this will be another stereotypical let’s point fingers.”
“Oh, she’s a witch, she dances with the devil,” said Lagier. “Turns out I guess I was right, a bunch of puritans who get in way over their heads, making it kind of disappointing and cringe worthy.”
The film did take elements from “The Crucible” and “The Shining.” This sort of style and theme gave the film it’s suspenseful and nerve wrecking approach.
From the book, “The Crucible” it showed what many New England colonists endured when it came to the concept of women or men doing witchcraft, or even having any association with the devil, which was intolerable and punishable by death.
“The Witch” even had many music and sound effects much like The Shining as well.
With the rummage of violins and eerie wolves and winds in the background, it’s a compatible sound for a film set in the middle of the nowhere.
Some people from the local Staten Island Theater, had no idea what they were expecting other than it would be a scary movie.
For instance, Tara Landano went into the theater with a very different expectation than when she came out.
“Going in, I thought it would be your average Paranormal Activity, but boy was I wrong,” said Landano. “It left me with more questions and shock than any horror movie out this year.”
Although everyone’s expectation were slightly off, there was an overall feeling of fulfilment and uniqueness that was left for many audience members.
Even Robert Eggers has said that good horror is about taking a look at what’s dark in humanity not just about the supernatural aspect.
“This film, it tempts to actually get into the darkness in humanity,” said Eggers. “Instead of shining a quick flashlight on it and running away giggling.”