The Witch [Celluloid Hero]
The VVitch (2015)
I'm very slowly catching up on some movies that I've really been meaning to see. When "The Witch" came out, it was hailed as one of the scariest movies in years, maybe in decades, a high point in the new wave of horror movies. While I get the love that was showered on this movie, I can't say I'm totally on board with it.
In the mid-1600s, a Puritanical family is cast out of the New England town in which they live, and end up building their own homestead in the wilderness. The family consists of a father and mother, teenage daughter, pre-teen son, slightly younger twins, and a newborn baby. When the newborn baby goes missing, the family falls into paranoia and accusations. The pre-teen son is attacked by a strange woman in the woods, the teens accuse their oldest sister of being a witch, the parents threaten to send the eldest away, God is questioned, and everything spirals out.
There are a lot of pros, and when I really look at it, only one con - the thing is, that con is omnipresent. I loved the look of this movie. Set in Pilgrim times, the costuming is great, the cinematography is fantastic, the sound is eerie and perfect. I want to say the acting is what hurts it, but it's really not the acting, it's the accent. In creating a period-appropriate script, the cialogue full of "thee" and "thou"; normally I can get past that, but add in the British/New England accent, add in the mumbling/whispering/yelling that most of the characters do, and I found myself constantly pausing the movie, turning on Closed Captioning, rewinding 20 seconds, then proceeding. Don't get me wrong, I've watched plenty of foreign movies with CC on and don't mind it, but something I've never been keen on is keeping CC on while watching something in English. I know lots of people that will binge Netflix with CC on, but I actually find it more distracting to read and hear the same language.
The constant need to pause, rewind, and rewatch a scene messed up the viewing experience for me, and that's really what knocks this movie down. It actually affected me so much that during the movie, not only was I frustrated, but I actually never really felt like it was necessarily a "scary" movie. There were plenty of scenes that dove into horror, but the pacing was so ruined that it wasn't until the next day that I started to reflect on everything, and realized just how heavy things go.
And just for the record, if you have 5-year-old twins and they name their pet goat Black Philip, you can't act surprised when shit goes sideways. #LiveDeliciously
[Celluloid Hero] gives "The VVitch" a 6 out of 10.