Alternative Media 17: The Witch (A Must-See Horror Flick For This Halloween)

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Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s October and we are just days away from good ol’ Halloween. Truth be told, as a matter of my family’s tradition, I never go out of my way to prepare early for Christmas. I tend to think of each year as a cycle of sorts and my year simply doesn’t feel complete without remembering those we have lost.

Anyway, enough about me, let’s get to movie details proper! Just be sure you’re grabbing the popcorn and not the arm of some dead person. That would, after all, be a trifle unpleasant.

Now while just about everyone is still going nuts over Train to Busan even though it’s been quite a while now since the film was shown and taken from theaters, I’d like to recommend another good horror film for all our readers out there who prefer the “spooky” genre. See, the thing is, while I do find the occasional zombie movie exciting, I find them overrated and unintentionally funny in some respects and I later find myself looking for something different.

In this case of course, I was in luck when I stayed with a bunch of friends who wanted to see the movie The Witch with me. 

Before I continue, I’d like to state that this film is less of an exciting supernatural horror flick and more of a subtle, creepy and mind-boggling psychological horror/drama. So if you want to see high adrenaline chases, roaring monsters and screaming victims, this might not be for you.

The Witch was directed by Robert Eggers and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson and, of course, debuting Hollywood actor Charlie the Goat. The film centers on a family of English Puritans seeking to eke out a living beyond the fringes of civilization after being exiled from their village in 1600’s America.

The movie showcases the struggles of a family with strong religious beliefs who must survive on their own in an otherwise untamed and unexplored land. Making matters worse of course is the evil force that seems to be stalking the family from the woods near their home.

Despite the film’s relatively small budget, it garnered quite a following thanks to its overall creepiness and the growing dread that comes with the family’s distress. Robert Eggers went to great lengths to do research on the lore of witches and witchcraft and how they are said to affect their victims. The cast, as reflected by the film’s tiny budget, is fairly small and it is mostly only in the beginning that we are treated to a profuse number of actors and actresses most of whom do not speak at all. The main actors and actresses of the film (save perhaps for Charlie the goat) go out of their way to adopt their manner of speaking to that of 1630’s Puritans, adding a sense of realism to the characters while still making them relatable through their determination to survive and their distress at the presence of an evil entity stalking.

The film has some overall themes that deserve some discussion on their own:

Destructive Pride

The thing is, as mentioned time and again on this website, a little of the right kind of pride if always welcome. Indeed, one must always have a good sense of self-respect in order to make something of one’s self in this world. However, having too much of the wrong kind of pride can prove to be detrimental in the long run.

For instance, William, the father of the family, could have saved his family by humbling himself and either returning to his village or simply calling on them for help. He comes off as too stubborn to ask for help even though just having a Native American woodsman to accompany him in his forays into the forest would’ve been a massive help in it’s own right. His unwillingness to accept that he could have been wrong all along is what truly endangered his family and many of the more terrible events that take place could have been avoided had he just put aside some of his own beliefs.

The Breaking of a Family

Stories of broken families are universally sad but this movie adds in more than a bit of horror by adding in the threat of the witch that stalks the family and seems to be making an effort to widen the gap between the members of the Puritan family.

All things considered, just as calling for help could have helped in some way, had the family just strengthened their bonds with one another by being honest with each other, many of the events of the film could have been mitigated or avoided. If William had been more honest about where he goes with his oldest son Caleb, perhaps his wife Katherine could have prepared accordingly or recommended an alternative. Katherine, on the other hand, could have been more honest with her children, especially when it comes to her fears and worries and warning them about the potential danger they could be in. Finally, from a more personal standpoint, I think both William and Katherine should have been more aware of the budding sexuality of their elder children instead of simply thinking of ways to get rid of them, perhaps things could have played out differently.

Repressed Sexuality

Now, of course, it’s to be said that the film takes place in 1630’s America and we’re talking about a Puritan family who probably doesn’t know any better. But then, if you’re a Filipino like me who’s reading this, then you can probably somewhat agree that our views aren’t all that different from the characters in the movie.

In our society today, we tend to repress our sexualities, deeming it as something evil and disgusting. We pretend it doesn’t even exist even though it is part of us and refusing to acknowledge it will only make it worse. For instance, the MTRCB always seems to be having a field-day with “wholesome entertainment” even though a lot of our shows are filled with nothing but lust and envy, disguised as noon-time shows or drama TV series.

***

And I’d be spoiling the movie if I say anything more…

Anyway, I hope you watch it and enjoy it overall because I, for one, liked it a lot better than Train to Busan.

Besides, did Train to Busan have a talented actor like Charlie the Goat?

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Post Author: Grimwald

I came that you may know PAIN and have it in abundance…

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d_forsaken
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Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.