Bring on the nightmares...
As any horror fan will know, it takes skill to craft a film that is genuinely terrifying in this day and age; no longer are cacophonous crescendos good enough to raise the hairs on the back of our necks, no longer is blood and gore the key to our nightmares, and no longer do cheap 'BOO!' moments inspire deep-rooted dread. Robert Eggers' directorial debut 'The Witch', though, has managed to set a new standard for future horrors in critics' eyes.
Anya Taylor-Joy stars in The Witch
One would think that witches are such an old-fashioned myth that it's impossible to scare anyone with them anymore. After all, 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch', 'Charmed' and other such shows and films have glorified them and made them hip rather than spooky. And they're merely a source of comedy in such movies as 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'. Even genuine witch-related horrors that have become cult classics are still infamously terrible ('The Blair Witch Project').
Enter 'The Witch'. Unpretentiously titled, this independent thriller became a hit at Sundance Film Festival for all the right reasons. ABC News praised its patient dread as 'a slow-burning 1600s horror thriller so bone-dry it would only take a match for the whole movie to go up in flames', while Time branded it 'a triumph of tone'.
ComingSoon.Net were even more enthusiastic about it. ''The Witch'... is dreadful. As in, full of dread', they said, adding that it's 'the first great film of 2016'. As for The Wrap, they were left a little unnerved by the whole experience describing it as being 'like a bad dream that's difficult to shake'.
In more specific terms, Mashable struggled to find any area of the film to complain about, from the 'meticulously styled' scenes and the 'quiet beauty' of the costumes, to the 'macabre' cinematography and the 'rattling and haunting' score. Meanwhile Vulture seemed to have the only vaguely negative point, that it 'feels rather one-dimensional' and 'basic', but even they agreed that it's a film that 'gets under your skin'.
If you needed further endorsement to convince you to see the movie, how about legendary horror writer Stephen King? He took to Twitter to share his own viewing experience, and he wasn't unimpressed. ''The Witch' scared the hell out of me. And it's a real movie, tense and thought-provoking as well as visceral', he said.
'The Witch' is released in the US on February 19th 2016.
The Witch is coming to theaters soon