New England, 1630: William and Katherine try to lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. 'The Witch' is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own sins, leaving them prey for an inconceivable evil.
A hare appears frequently in the film. In colonial New England, hares were considered magical creatures in their own right. They were often associated with witches, either as a milk-hare, which stole or spoiled milk from the farm animals, or the witch themselves, who were thought able to turn into a hare in order to spy on and influence people. See more »
The nails holding the chicken house together have modern round heads. 17th century cut nails would have rectangular heads. See more »
[before the court]
What went we out into this wilderness to find? Leaving our country, kindred, our fathers houses? We have travailed a vast ocean. For what? For what?
We must ask thee to be silent!
Was it not for the pure and faithful dispensation of the Gospels, and the Kingdom of God?
No More! We are *your* judges, and not you ours!
I cannot be judged by false Christians, for I have done nothing, save preach Christ's true Gospel.
Must you continue to dishonor the laws of the ...
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This is more of a historical psychological thriller than a Hollywood blood and guts horror film.
The film is a loving and accurate recreation of Puritan New England in the 1600s with everything from the language to the sets being authentic to the period. That in and of itself makes it fascinating to watch. Having lived in Virginia, where the Jamestown Settlement and the 1600s sometimes can seem like they happened the day before yesterday, I especially enjoyed the film. The location, in Ontario, reminded me of rural Virginia in winter, which made me quite homesick. So the film might have affected me more than some other audience members.
The Witch is a fascinating glimpse into Christianity as practiced by 17th century Puritans. Satan and Evil are almost tangible presences in the woods and wilderness of the New World, while God is a distant, cold, and demanding being who must be constantly begged for forgiveness and mercy, since all human thoughts, words, and deeds seem to be gravely sinful and offensive to his eyes.
A family of seven (parents, four children, and an infant) are exiled from their plantation community for not adhering to the accepted interpretation of scripture. They build a farm at a distance from the plantation near a frightening wood. The farm is failing (the family won't have food to last the winter). Meanwhile, the infant has been snatched from the oldest daughter while in her care at the edge of the wood. From this point on the family either descends into madness or is destroyed by Satan in the form of a witch who lives nearby in the woods. How the family's disintegration is interpreted will depend on which century's point of view you choose to use.
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