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The Witch

Mystery . Horror

New England in the 1630s: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life with five children, homesteading on the edge of an impassable wilderness. When their newborn son vanishes and crops fail, the family turns on one another. Beyond their worst fears, a supernatural evil lurks in the nearby wood.

Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy , Ralph Ineson , Kate Dickie , Harvey Scrimshaw , Lucas Dawson , Ellie Grainger
Directors: Robert Eggers
Release: 2016-02-19
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  • Drew McWeeny

    Eggers manages to create a sense of mood and dread that is so suffocating at times that it feels like we're watching something genuinely transgressive, something we should not be seeing.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    A deeply impressive first film by director Robert Eggers, “The Witch” is immaculately constructed, evinces an exquisitely ominous tone, and is unequivocally haunting. It’s exacting look at the dissonance of human nature is terrifying.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    The Witch is one of the most genuinely unnerving horror films in recent memory because Eggers has the guts to earn your fear.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    The Witch becomes a focused portrait of fixed rituals crumbling in the face of inexplicable forces, evoking the fear of change lurking in the shadows at every moment. Despite the setting, its scares are uniquely contemporary.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    This movie may be too slow and verbose to be the next breakout horror hit, but its focus on themes over plot is what elevates it to something near greatness.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Writer-director Robert Eggers' debut feature impresses on several fronts, notably in the performances, historical feel and visual precision, but the overall effect is relatively subdued and muted, probably too much so for mainstream scare fans.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The Witch is a horrifying film, one unique in my experience.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    Unsettling yet mesmerizing, The Witch is more of an art film than a horror flick.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Although Eggers is discreet – the things you don’t see are more horrifying than those you do – the picture’s relentlessness sometimes feels like torment. But if you can survive it, The Witch is a triumph of tone.

    Time Full Review
  • Dan Callahan

    This is the kind of serious horror movie that will live in your head for days afterward, like a bad dream that’s difficult to shake.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Steeped in bleak, ominous atmosphere and period-perfect costumes and design, this is one of those rare genre films that gets under your skin and stays there.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    With incredible attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to the world he has created, Eggers slowly, surely builds tension until it's almost unbearable. And that's delightful, if you're a horror fan. It's a terrific film.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    In a way, the movie is a tug of war between the fruits of exhaustive research into old-world madness — which plays out most prominently in the richly possessed performances (particularly Taylor-Joy and young Scrimshaw) and the evocative frontier trappings — and an entertainer's pulpier instincts.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Like any truly successful horror film, The Witch operates on various levels at once and is open to interpretation. Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    The result is a horror movie that comes dangerously close to showing sympathy for the real devils, the kind that burned witches instead of instructing them. Good thing it’s scary.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Chris Hewitt (1)

    A hugely assured debut, The Witch is a beautiful, bleak brainworm that will haunt you for days.

    Empire Full Review
  • Jamie Graham

    Robert Eggers’ measured, meticulous debut builds into one of the most genuinely scary horror movies of recent years.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    This is a scary movie and a serious one, because it lures us into the minds, and the earthly domains, of those who are themselves scared, night and day, that they have forfeited the mercies of God. It takes an original movie to remind us of original sin.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Soren Andersen

    Eggers’ depiction of the family’s psychological decay and his relentless piling up of deeply disturbing imagery make The Witch an unnerving and fresh-feeling horror masterwork.

    The Seattle Times Full Review
  • Bill Zwecker

    This is a very promising first feature by Eggers and showcases some exceptional acting.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Simon Abrams

    The Witch, a feminist narrative that focuses on an American colonial family as they undergo what seems to be an otherworldly curse, is more like a sermon. Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    This startling, assured feature debut from New Hampshire-born, Brooklyn-based writer-director Robert Eggers has one foot in early American history and another in legend and fairy tale.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    A crafty calling card brimming with beauty and terror. Eggers pulls us into the supernatural with subtle cunning and meticulous attention to detail.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Barry Hertz

    Disturbing and taut, Eggers’s direction is almost without fault. His only mistake lies in the film’s final 30 seconds, where all the implied horror of the family’s plight becomes just a shade too explicit.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Molly Eichel

    The Witch is a stressful movie to watch, and that's meant as the highest praise.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    If the story’s psychodynamics are familiar, Mr. Eggers makes them seem newly discovered. The intensity of his writing and direction, as well as the eerie austerity of Jarin Blaschke’s cinematography, Craig Lathrop’s production design and Mark Korven’s music, all conspire to create a film of exceptional originality.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    It’s a creepy little gem, and its imagery will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Writer-director Robert Eggers' "New England folk tale" film isn't likely to go bonkers in the popular culture the way "Blair Witch" did. But it's an infinitely richer, more meticulous, more elegant and more unnerving horror film — the best since "The Babadook," and very likely a 21st century classic in its hardy yet malleable genre.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Eggers' chilling debut is a small masterpiece of atmosphere.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    What makes this chillingly creepy little black-magic folk tale work so beautifully is its evocative sense of time and place.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Bryan Bishop

    Eggers’ filmmaking is bold, confident, and endlessly patient, luring the viewer into a world that is seductive in its barren beauty and measured pace.

    The Verge Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    With a gentle rap-rapping, Mr. Eggers intensifies the shivers with art-film moves, genre shocks and an excellent cast that includes a progressively rowdy menagerie.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    Robert Eggers' uncompromising directorial debut is a bracingly new experience that boils with the primordial fever of America's original sins.

    Slate Full Review
  • Tim Grierson

    The Witch’s greatest asset is its precisely controlled menace, and so even when nothing terrifying is happening, it feels like something ominous could be unleashed at any moment.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    It winds up working as a ominous climax, however, and you’re left wanting to avoid any and all farm animals for a while — which for this excellent piece of filmmaking is high praise.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    For fans of horror at its most sinister, The Witch is not to be missed. It casts a spell that lingers long after its most disquieting mists have cleared.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    It’s not edge-of-your-seat alarming and its jolts are more creepy than shocking. But for all its period detail and head games, “Witch” works on the most primitive level.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Jesse Cataldo

    The reworking of a tired horror trope into a transformed feminist symbol stands out as an impressive act of genre revisionism.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Jordan Raup

    Eggers, whose production and costume design background is on full display in the austerely crafted setting, effectively builds the tension of this divine battle, one which isn’t scary, but surely memorable.

    The Film Stage Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    To my taste, the movie finally feels rather one-dimensional, basic. But there’s no disputing its awful power.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Sarah Kurchak

    It falls short of an instant classic. It’s not a mind blowing achievement in horror. But The Witch is a solidly good film.

    Consequence of Sound Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    If all it took was verisimilitude and atmosphere to define a movie, The Witch would earn a near-perfect rating. Unfortunately, despite a creepily effective setting and authentic setup, the movie suffers as a result of a frustratingly uneven screenplay.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • David Lewis

    Its slow-boiling brew of dread turns out to be more tepid than terrifying.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ethan Sacks

    Early on, it seems that The Witch is tapping a higher metaphor for coming of age...or religious intolerance...or man's uneasy balance with nature...or something. It doesn't take long into the film's hour and a half running time, however, to break that spell.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Alan Scherstuhl

    The Witch purports, at times, to confront ignorance and hysteria, but in the end, for horror thrills, Eggers's film sides with the preachers and executioners. It literalizes the fevered terrors of our God-mad ancestors — and then brags that it's all steeped in research.

    Village Voice Full Review
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