Ax on 'Flix

In this week's Netflix pick, Axel reviews "The Witch"

By Axel Marcenaro
On October 18, 2019

Axel Marcenaro, editor-in-chief

Horror films are always a risky watch, especially on Netflix. It seems they’re always ei­ther amazing or appalling, with nothing in be­tween. This week, I took a risk with the 2016 horror film “The Witch”.

The film follows a New England family who is banished from their town in the 1600s. During their effort to make a home in the woods of the new world, a child is stolen, and supernatural occurrenc­es, witchcraft, possession and, most danger­ously, paranoia begin to plague their farm.

If you’re a fan of slow-paced horror films, “The Witch” does suspense and scares right. If you are someone who prefers in-your-face monsters and jump scares, this movie will be an agonizingly long wait. The film is very subtle and more creepy than scary. I pre­fer the slow build of fear and find jump scares to be cheesy, so, for me, this movie was right on track. The entire film will keep you feeling uneasy and uncomfortable in the best way.

Adding to the horror atmosphere of this film is the perfectly suited visual aesthetic it carries. “The Witch” is shroud­ed in a grey overcast light that feels bleak and ill-fated. Night scenes are realistically lit with only a few scattered candles to give glow to the hand-built farmhouse. Further­more, this film’s set design and wardrobe is superb. Everything looks exactly of the era. The clothes and house furnishings even host a certain realistic layer of dirt and wear that is so often lost in period pieces. The imag­ery in this movie truly makes it easy to be­come lost in this frightening old world.

I am always harder on the acting for films set in the early American era, because it always feels so cheesy. “The Witch” goes all out with Olde English, but its actors maneuver the dated language so well it never felt corny for a second. Anya Taylor-Joy (Thomasin) and Ralph Ineson (William) gave my favorite per­formances, but I think it’s worth noting that the actors playing Caleb, Jonas, and Mercy were all actual kids. I rarely see movies where children do such a good job in horror roles.

Overall, I found “The Witch” to be a very entertaining horror story full of ee­rie atmosphere. If you’re someone who re­ally enjoys quality, slow-burn scares, then this is definitely for you. If you’re more of a slasher film or jump scare kind of a per­son, it may not be your cup of tea, but I say “The Witch” is still worth a watch.

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