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The Witch: Paranormal forces stir paranoia in a horror masterpiece

Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin in The Witch, a film about the paranormal forces that might be stalking a small group living on the outskirts of society.

Elevation Pictures

3.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Robert Eggers
Directed by
Robert Eggers
Starring
Anya-Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
Genre
Horror
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

A feature debut of startling confidence, Robert Eggers's The Witch is not only an excellent horror film, but also a captivating study in extreme paranoia and the fragile bonds of family.

Set in 17th-century New England (and filmed just a few hours outside of Toronto), the film follows the travails of a small God-fearing clan living on the outskirts of society – and the paranormal forces that might be stalking them.

The tension all leads up to a dark confrontation between the stoic patriach William (Ralph Ineson) and his teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), which will redefine the concept of familial strife.

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Disturbing and taut, Eggers's direction is almost without fault. His only mistake lies in the film's final 30 seconds, where all the implied horror of the family's plight becomes just a shade too explicit.

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About the Author

Barry Hertz is the deputy arts editor and film editor for The Globe and Mail. He previously served as the Executive Producer of Features for the National Post, and was a manager and writer at Maclean’s before that. His arts and culture writing has also been featured in several publications, including Reader’s Digest and NOW Magazine. More

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