Unconventional horror flicks have enjoyed a spike in both quality and critical appreciation in the past year-or-so. Aussie filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s child-rearing allegory The Babadook has been scaring the pants off scores of Netflix subscribers since its addition to the site’s streaming library earlier this year. In the spring, the supremely unsettling John Carpenter homage It Follows won raves across the board for its combination of old-school frights with visual panache. And slowly but surely, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire Western A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has been amassing a cult following online. And now we have The Witch. There’s still no shortage of “teens get sequentially murdered at secluded cabin location”-type productions, but the horror game has become a fertile breeding ground for unorthodox approaches as of late.
The most distinctive aspect of Robert Eggers’ upcoming film The Witch is its unusual setting; in the film, a malevolent spirit torments the simple Puritans of the 17-century American colonies. (Think of it like your fifth-grade field trip to witness the Pilgrim-era wonders of Plymouth Village, but with a side detour into hell.) Audiences at the film’s premiere at Sundance back in January were left breathless, cowering in fear at Eggers’ color-desaturated photography and mastery over atmospheric terror. It’ll play again next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, but instead of pouncing on an apropos release date around Halloween, The Witch won’t make its debut to the general public until early 2016. But for now, we’re free to pore over the trailer and pretend like we’re not all paralyzingly afraid of goats.
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Image Credit: A24