(This post doesn’t contain spoilers, we promise.)
Horror film fans are losing their minds this week — because The Witch just opened in Australian cinemas yesterday, and it’s already being welcomed as one of the scariest movies of all time.
The film, which is based on extensive research into recorded creepy incidents of 17th-century New England, follows a Puritan family that’s been exiled to an abandoned wood.
A family tragedy takes place toward the beginning of the film, and the family dynamics that ensure are just as suspense-building as the folklore narrative from which the film takes its name. (Also, there’s a breastfeeding scene so unbelievably creepy, you’ll be crossing your arms over your chest for hours.)
The deeply unsettling film, set in 1630, is so eerie it’s been endorsed by the peak body of real-life Satanists in the United States.
The group — The Satanic Temple — announced last month that it will host screenings of the film.
Its national spokesperson Jex Blackmore praised, among other things, the film’s refusal to portray witches as vulnerable, hysterical women. As she puts it:
While the patriarchy makes witches of only the most socially vulnerable members of society, Eggers’ film refuses to construct a victim narrative. Instead it features a declaration of feminine independence that both provokes puritanical America and inspires a tradition of spiritual transgression.
The film has been keenly anticipated in Australia ever since its appearance at Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category last year. It’s also been received well by fans, receiving 89 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. (No, we’re not being paid to write about it, promise. We just like a good scary movie.)
So, there’s one idea if the weather keeps you inside this weekend…
Just bring a friend whose shoulder you can bury your head in when it gets too creepy.
What’s the scariest horror film you’ve seen?