“The Witch” is a slow burn of a horror movie, in which something feels off and disturbing almost right away, and the terror builds slowly and the evil permeating the entire film reveals itself gradually. We figure out pretty early on what is happening, but we have no idea the extent of it all until the very end. A story of an early 1600s Puritan family living in the wilderness on the edge of a forest inhabited by something terrible, this is the kind of movie that gets under your skin and creeps you out from within.
William (Ralph Ineson) takes his family and leaves a settlers’ plantation because his religious views were not compatible with the new town’s position on religion, and he takes them out into the wilderness where they find a big open spot next to some ominous looking woods. Soon they have a home and a farm, tended to by William, his teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), his teenage son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), while the mother Katherine (Kate Dickie) takes care of a couple of annoying little twins and their brand new little baby Samuel. One day, Thomasin is out with Samuel watching over him when he gets snatched away from her in less than a second, and his disappearance is sudden and definitive. This baby kidnapping early on sends the family dynamics into an off-kilter direction, with the mom blaming Thomasin and the father wondering if they were simply cursed by a vengeful God unhappy with their sins. Thomasin, for her part, is not sure who to blame, but the family circulated lie that a wolf took the child does not sit well with her because she was there and she knows it wasn’t a wolf. So what could it be? Well, you’ve seen the title of this movie, right?