Of course these things are always a matter of taste, which is what leads us to define ‘The witch‘, which you can see on SkyShowtime, recently arrived on our screens (and also on Prime Video) as the best horror movie of recent years. There will be those who prefer other recent genre pieces, such as ‘Hereditary’, ‘Let me out!’ or ‘Black Phone’, to say other signs of the good moment that the genre is experiencing, but what is more or less indisputable is that Robert Eggers’ first film is superb.
This is one of the first pieces, along with ‘Hereditary’ and ‘It Follows’, to inaugurate the misnamed current of ‘elevated horror’, a horrendous appellation for a series of films that were sold as highbrow and artistic, and that in reality it was nothing more than a lifetime of horror films, but with new authors and renewed concerns behind it (and that the production company A24, which owes much of its fame to this film, has cultivated in abundance). . For example, ‘The Witch’ embraces codes that genre cinema knows well: witchcraft, folk horror, Satan and many other tropes of fear.
In it, Eggers tells us the story, set in New England in 1630, of a Christian settler couple with five children who have no choice but to set up their farm and home near a forest that, according to popular belief, is dominated by evil When the newborn son disappears and the crops fail to grow, the family members suspect that a supernatural evil lives near them.
With an ultra-slow pace but brimming with perverse images that infiltrate the family’s daily life, Eggers injects impious symbology into a history of witches and enchantments, yes, but also of terrifying discoveries about how adulthood works. Anya Taylor-Joy’s absolutely spectacular performance, which deservedly catapulted her to stardom, is just the icing on the cake for a film that is as much a psychological drama about fanaticism, in the vein of Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon,’ as it is an homage to the classics of rural terror. Essential and perfect.
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