THE WITCH: The Media Witch’s Review

THE WITCH: The Media Witch’s Review February 20, 2016

Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin in THE WITCH
Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin in THE WITCH

It’s always really interesting for me to review witchy and pagan films, because I’m coming at this work as both a film critic and a practicing witch, not to mention a scholar of contemporary paganism. THE WITCH is just about the hottest horror film to come along in many months (even the Satanists love it, which is kind of cool), if not years, and it’s set to be a game-changer. It’s not your typical horror film: it’s historically authentic almost to a fault (the natural light makes it a bit dark at times), it’s thoughtful (no jumpscares here, but plenty of shocking and scary moments), and subtle (no high-pitched shrieking score or manipulative editing). The cinematography and performances are very impressive.

Instead of writing a review specifically for my blog here, I want to share a review I have written for an arts website where I recently joined the writing staff. Venues for good in-depth arts writing are harder and harder to find these days, with print publications suffering for readership and the interwebs favoring more shallow, clickbait coverage. I love the Arts Fuse for letting me write with nuance and depth. So, here is my review: Mother Nature’s a Bitch, and So am I.

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:
“Even with such an impressive ensemble cast, it is clear this is Thomasin’s story, and it is her world we are asked to imagine. The witch trope has been dramatized onscreen via a myriad of emotional colors: terrifying, benevolent, beautiful, ugly, young, old, seductive, the witch as healer, as magic-worker, as rabble-rouser, a scapegoat, a lover, a killer. Historical portrayals tend to focus on witches as misunderstood outliers, manipulative temptresses, or devout Christians who aren’t witches at all. Without question, the vast majority of these portrayals are female. Kramer and Sprenger, the German misogynists who penned the 16th century witch hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum, wrote “All witchcraft stems from carnal desire, which is in women insatiable.” And this is the moment we must acknowledge the perspective of critics who claim this film is, or is most assuredly not, a feminist story. That Thomasin’s epiphany is either one of empowerment, or of submission. She is broken, dismembered, but her final moments hint at re-membering.”



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