Godforsaken Land - An Early American Nightmare
Is there true black magic? – One of the interesting questions this unconventional, Sundance-winning horror movie deals with – and thus keeps up the tension until the very end. The uneasy thrill mainly evolves from the eerie atmosphere the 17th century New England setting provides, plus a sweeping soundtrack that mirrors the the landscape and the characters' states of mind perfectly. The narration begins rather classic, spotting on an isolated farmhouse in an early American nowhereland.
1630. British settler William (Ralph Ineson) and his family have come to this ominous place for the pursuit of happiness. But nothing thrives on the farm, and neither wife Catherine (Kate Dickie), nor the five children acclimate to the uncanny place they not dare to call „home“. The nightmare begins, when baby Sam disappears while his elder sister Thomasin (Anya Taylor Joy) is looking after him near the forest edge. Did the wolf steal him? Or was it the witch who is said to dwell in the dark woods? Soon, further disturbing events are to happen on the godforsaken farm. There must be black magic involved, the parents are convinced. And not much later, Thomasin comes under suspicion..
Grim, Lovecraft-like witch house horror meets the bitter moral of Michael Hanekes „The White Ribbon“: Once again it becomes obvious where it ends up when religious dogmatism blanks out reason and social cohesion. Remembering the settlement history of the US, this oppressive witch hunt thus gains kind of a political reading, too.
Modern and classic at the same time, „The Witch“ is so far the most multi-layered and thrilling horror movie of the year, and definetely a must-have-seen for all interested in questions of (religious) authority – as well as those fascinated by „the Evil“ and how it works.