The movie that freaked the f*ck out of everyone at Sundance earlier this year? Hands down, “The Witch,” a freaky possession horror set in the 1600s along the backdrop of the Salem witch trials in New England. Directed by first-time feature-length filmmaker Robert Eggers, the movie features an amazing breakthrough performance by Anya Taylor Joy, who plays the teenaged protagonist daughter of the film, and also includes Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson. Our review out of Sundance described the film as an “exquisite holy terror” and compared the filmmaking and tone to Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkvosky, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick. Damn! Here’s the official synopsis:
New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. In his debut feature, writer/director Robert Eggers painstakingly designs an authentic re- creation of New England — generations before the 1692 trials in Salem — evoking the alluring and terrifying power of the timeless witch myth. Told through the eyes of Thomasin, the teenage daughter (in a star-making performance by Anya Taylor-Joy), and supported by haunting camera work and an ominous score, The Witch is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.
The winner of Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Directing Award (we also named it one of the best films of Sundance 2015, period), “The Witch” lands in theaters TBD 2016 via A24 Films, but will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival first next month. Watch the first trailer below.