Review: The Witch

All photos courtesy of A24

When the family comes across the clearing at the edge of the woods, they fall to their knees and pray, mother and father holding their hands aloft. Pious exiles, this Puritan clan—father William, mother Katherine, and children Thomasin, Caleb, Mercy, Jonas and, soon, baby Samuel—has found true salvation far away from both oppressive England and their compromising Puritan community. It will be a hard life, but a pure and righteous one.

But someone else has already staked a claim on this wilderness. She lives by herself in a shack deep in the thicket, occasionally wearing a red riding cloak that looks lifted directly from the pages of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. She is a witch, but not the cackling, green-skinned variety of The Wizard of Oz or a verbose, compassionate intellectual in the vein of Hermione Granger. There is something much more primal and elemental to this crone, and when she’s done working her unspeakable magic the family at her doorstep will be at each other’s throats.