The Witch in the Wood

The new feature film THE WITCH was released nationwide today after a series of premiere events that culminated in a fantastic evening of history and horror in Salem last night.  Writer/Director Robert Eggers and star Anya Taylor Joy came to Salem to attend the screening at CinemaSalem in addition to several media events. Eggers and Joy visited The Witch House, attended a reception at the Salem Witch Museum, and answered questions during a panel immediately following the film.

There is a lot that can go wrong with a film like THE WITCH, which is the story of “one family’s frightful unraveling,” set in 17th century New England.  The history, the setting, the dialect, the dialog, the witch could all be horribly portrayed. But they are not.  With painstaking detail, this film gets it all right. It is terrifying and accurate and it transports the audience to a place of, to quote one of the audience members at the Salem screening, “abject terror” that was the reality of 17th century New England.

My visceral reaction to the film aside, the historians in the theater agreed: this film is excellent.  (As one historian said, “So very may films have gotten the history so very wrong, we were all prepared for the worst.”)  If you want to know what the afflicted children went through in 1692, see THE WITCH. If you want to grasp the importance of religion and faith in a Puritan family, see THE WITCH. If you want to feel the fear that pulsated through the family’s farm in exile, see THE WITCH.

Eggers has created a beautiful, haunting film that will stay with me for a very long time, and Anya Taylor Joy is mesmerizing as Thomasin. It was a pleasure having them in Salem for the screening.

The film is in wide release, but we think you should see it at CinemaSalem, of course.

Lots of people are writing about THE WITCH. We really like Brunonia Barry’s perspective, which was posted on Huffington Post: The Tangled, Feminine History of The Witch