7 Reasons Why “The Witch” Is a Modern  Masterpiece of Horror Cinema

7 Reasons Why “The Witch” Is a Modern  Masterpiece of Horror Cinema

Robert Eggers’ The Witch was born out of nowhere and blew everyone away. There, it won the prize for best director in a feature movie. It was then bought by A24, an indie sensation, and released widely. The film received a lot of positive reviews and good box office returns.

Of course, there were also detractors. There were those who said the film was not scary enough, and that it was slow and boring. This list aims to prove these people wrong and show them why The Witch is one of the best horror films of this century. Male witch names and female witch names can be named using witch name generators.

Let’s take a look at the main characteristics of this two-time Independent Spirit Awards Winner:

“The Witch” as a Modern Masterpiece

1. Historical Frightening

People are afraid of witches for a reason. This is not just about witches as such, but ghosts, demons, vampires, as well, and even clowns. These iconic figures all have cultural and social constructions. We learn about their evil natures as children and are able to see how we would react if we were to meet them.

However, all the iconic folklore icons of western cultures have lost some of their power. Pop culture has made its figures look incredibly diluted and in many cases, it is just a shell of the original form. This makes them a marketable totem. These legends are only a fraction of the fear and apprehension that once surrounded them and gave birth to them.

That was until The Witch. The Witch explored a mythical figure in horror literature and folklore. It did this by studying 17th-century stories and rumors about witches. A team of experts was assembled to analyze how witchcraft was perceived at that time and how real witches behaved and looked. They even studied rumored magical lotion compositions. All of these were included in the film.

2. Suspense In Place Of Jump Scares

Modern horror films are full of jump scares. Imagine this scene: A couple enters a cabin hidden in the forest. As they walk towards the closed door, the wooden floor creaks. The knob is turning from the inside. The boy puts his hand on the knob and opens the door to find nobody inside. When they get into the hallway, one of their friends makes a loud screeching sound that explodes in the audience’s ears.

Are you ringing a bell? It’s in almost every horror movie. They can be distracting and annoying. Jump scares can be effective, but James Wan and Sam Raimi know how to use them well. However, they are often used in such a predictable and cheap manner that it takes away any atmosphere or suspense.

A horror movie is not necessarily one that makes you jump out of your chair the most. It’s the one that makes it so uncomfortable that you are shaking from head to foot. A great horror movie grabs you by the throat, much like a thriller.

3. Sacred Familial Bonds

Consider some of the most memorable horror films. Characters will often face two types of problems: the supernatural and the natural. When characters are forced into their predicament by the actions of another person, they will face natural problems. This is usually a resilient killer such as Michael Myers from Halloween or Pamela Vorhees from Friday the 13th.

The involvement of supernatural entities is crucial to solving supernatural problems. These entities can be ghosts, demons, or any combination thereof. The supernatural acts through natural elements in most cases. This includes possession (The Exorcist), or psychological manipulation (The Shining).

However, the problem is not the only issue. The problem is not the only thing that matters. It’s also how the problem impacts the characters and, most importantly, how it affects their relationship. The Exorcist, minus the supernatural elements, is a story about a single mother’s inability to cope with her daughter’s mysterious illness.

The Shining tells the story of a family that must survive a father’s mental breakdown, and violent, and even homicidal urges. The more relatable and humane the situation, the greater the impact it will have on the audience.

4. Listen to Music from Hell Below

A horror film must have an atmosphere and ambiance. The movie’s atmosphere must be able to capture the viewer’s attention.

In many cases, the atmosphere is created. The visual responsibilities associated with this included lighting, costumes, set design, and camera movement. Each member of the team must work together to achieve the final goal of the movie, which is terrorizing and scaring its viewers. But, it is impossible to ignore the impact that a haunting soundtrack can have on a horror movie’s appeal.

Mark Korven’s work raises The Witch’s tension up to new heights. With its minimalist cacophony approach and screeching violins, there are obvious echoes of Penderecki’s music which was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Many times, the instruments of the score seem to stack on top of one another, almost like a cluster of harmony that never stops increasing in pitch and intensity. A tranquil melody becomes a disquieting cavalry full of brass and wind, assaulting the ears.

5. Satan’s puppets

Good storytelling starts with the ability to make your audience feel for your character. The viewer won’t care enough about the character’s situation to make it interesting. These two characters will be the last survivors. Meanwhile, the cannon-fodder characters will be quickly dispatched.

It is, therefore, crucial to develop characters. It doesn’t matter how good a character looks on the page if there aren’t great actors who can bring that to life on the screen. Robert Eggers’s attention to this fact shines through in The Witch’s casting. The cast is limited to six actors. This could have led to a film lacking substance. However, it’s an advantage for the film because it allows the screenwriter to develop the characters.

The movie’s most notable performance is that of Ralph Ineson as William, the father. His low, guttural voice, his impossible physicality, conflicted faith, overall nature, and his impossibly low voice are all highlights of the movie. This works well to show the family’s relationships since he is clearly the leader.

Kate Dickie’s portrayal of Katherine, the mother is just as captivating. Katherine, distraught over the death of her baby boy slowly becomes apathetic and aggressive. Dickie is able to sell her character’s descent into madness due to nefarious witchcraft.

6. Do not tell, Barely Show

The oldest rule in filmmaking is “show, don’t tell”. This means that you have the option of audio-visually displaying an event or happening onscreen, rather than simply featuring a character talking. This is the most appealing and compelling approach that allows you to explore cinematic language to the fullest extent.

It is not impossible to show something on the screen. If properly used, omission can be just as important as full-blown exposition. It all depends on what the filmmaker intends.

Sometimes, a film may take a more balanced approach to such dogma. It combines the “telling” and “showing” parts into one. This is a kind of careful exposition. This is the only cheat that The Witch uses in its most frightening instances.

Never is the titular witch seen in her original form. She is usually seen in shadows and faces away from the camera when she appears on-screen. She doesn’t like to stay on-screen for too long and instead cuts to black or crosses-cuts to other characters.

7. Deliciously balanced

The film is very much like music. Harmony and melody are interwoven to tell a story or convey emotion. Both film and music have their motifs. These are themes that repeat throughout the film and always refer back to past instances. They also depend on the rhythm to better express what the composer/filmmaker is trying to accomplish.

Films can be slow or fast. Films can change their rhythmic speed in editing, even though it rarely pays off, and also in the scenes that they create. The rhythm must be consistent and coherent, not dragging or rushing.

The Witch is an excellent example of a well-balanced horror movie. It doesn’t move fast, but it presents constant conundrums and problems that characters must resolve to make the story progress.

The Witch moves slowly and patiently. The Witch adds terror over tension to make its deliberate pace more painful for the viewers. It is rare to find relief from tension. Even the most disturbing scenes are carefully and meditatively presented.


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