The Witch

Writer-director Robert Eggers has previously operated in the realm of horror shorts (Hansel and Gretel and The Tell-Tale Heart), but his leap to the narrative-feature format is assisted by a sure command and wielding of historic record.

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click to enlarge Anya Taylor-Joy in 'The Witch'
Anya Taylor-Joy in 'The Witch'

Writer-director Robert Eggers has previously operated in the realm of horror shorts (Hansel and Gretel and The Tell-Tale Heart), but his leap to the narrative-feature format is assisted by a sure command and wielding of historic record. The Witch documents the plight of a family expelled from their settlement village in 1630s New England as they head off on their own, only to come face-to-face with the otherworldly forces of witchcraft and the darkest of black magic inhabiting the woods, just beyond the edge of the new land they claim for themselves. With the help of a dedicated cast of unfamiliar players (Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie), Eggers convincingly makes us believe that such supernatural elements could be real, and that we are watching an account that feels terrifyingly of-the-moment. (Opens Friday at Esquire Theatre) (R) Grade: A

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