My enjoyment of horror films has, thus far, been limited. My tastes are usually restricted to the multitude of Stephen King adaptations (Misery, The Shining, Carrie) and the occasional import such as Julia’s Eyes. I passionately deride the worth of the usual exploitation horror films, particularly given their less than favourable treatment of women. Rather than horror, I find myself preferring films that are rather more subtle in their approach, and instead, making full use of a singular shocking moment. Snowtown for example, for me, is arguably far more horrific than the latest cheap shock tactics used in more mainstream cinema.
The Witch then, favourably received at the Sundance Film Festival in which it won the directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category, looks to be far more suited to my sensibilities. Tonally reminding me of films as eclectic as There Will Be Blood, Antichrist, Lost Highway and Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Witch features a Puritan family, who after leaving their community behind to be at one with god, suffer disturbing encounters with an unseen spirit. The muted colour palette as featured in the trailer, along with the jarring unsettling music, hint at a film that will seek to unsettle and create unease rather than rely on cheap shocks.