The Witch Is 'Incredibly Creepy' —and Great
Robert Eggers' debut feature 'sends chills up the spine'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2016 12:38 PM CST

(Newser) – Exiled to the outskirts of a creepy forest in 1630 New England, a God-fearing couple and their children fall into suspicion and paranoia when an infant son vanishes in The Witch. A teenage daughter is soon accused of witchcraft, but it's debut director Robert Eggers who casts the real spell, say critics:

  • Eggers transports viewers to a 17th-century farm and "leaves us, like the family, to fend for ourselves." That's what makes The Witch "so effective, and so incredibly creepy," writes Bill Goodykoontz at the Arizona Republic. "This isn't a 'boo!' type of horror movie," he adds. Instead, Eggers "builds tension until it's almost unbearable."
  • This is "a stressful movie to watch, and that's meant as the highest praise," writes Molly Eichel at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It feels "eerie in every sense … even when nothing explicitly scary is happening." The whole cast is "phenomenal" but Anya Taylor-Joy, playing the teenage daughter, shines above the rest with her "preternatural ability to telegraph fear," writes Eichel. "She's hypnotic, and so is The Witch."

  • Who would have guessed that "the first great film of 2016 is a horror flick with Puritans, possessed kids, naked forest women, and a haunting goat," writes Brian Truitt at USA Today. It's similar to The Shining in that "as the plot progresses, there is less and less hope for these loved ones to make things right."
  • "Fans of movies like Saw and Hostel might find it a bore. But for anyone seeking an intelligent, atmospheric American horror story reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Witch is the kind of pure movie magic that sends chills up the spine," writes Randy Myers at the San Jose Mercury News. "Eggers does much more than knock on the horror genre door, he breaks it down." This is "not just a great horror film, but a great film."