By Ryan De La Rosa.
Now that it’s Fall, and the air is getting crisp, staying inside seems to be a bit more acceptable. While we never fully avoid going to the flicks or checking out what’s new on Netflix, it does seem like a better time of year to lay on the couch, grab a beverage, and begin the horror fest as we countdown the days to Hallows Eve. What better way to revisit classics like Evil Dead and The Shining?
Although we don’t have to dig for the classics during this time, it does seem preferable. Horror, in my opinion, has been a less than great genre for the last few years. This year seems to be slightly different, and one film studio, A24, is what’s changing my opinion. And they’ve done it with a series of great films, and now, just a preview for The Witch.
The Witch (stylized as The VVitch, for some reason) seems like it could be one of the best horror films to come about in recent memory. Director Robert Eggers doesn’t really have much under his belt though. So who has the guile to believe he’s the next big thing in horror.
Firstly, we need to discuss the importance of a horror soundtrack. Flashback to Zombi 2. That’s correct, I’m talking about the 1979 basically B-movie horror film that was originally proposed as a non-cannon sequel to Dawn of the Dead. The soundtrack makes this film. It’s one of the cheesiest splatter-fest grind houses that insinuate zombies originated in the African jungle. But the Saving grace actually comes from Director Lucio Fulci in the form of a soundtrack. I’d bet that VVitch actually has a great soundtrack too, and can only help to aim this movie toward greatness.
I state this with confidence because the composer working on the Witch worked on a great sci-fi film in the past, called Cube. Though the film features low budget early Sci-Fi Channel original production, the concept and the follow through make it worth revisiting, if you’ve never seen it. In short, Cube is about a device that shifts many rooms about in geometric patterns as a trap for groups of (basically) reality show contestants. Think Saw meets rubix cube: the movie.
Cube takes it’s horror element from the maze-driven insanity that it’s captives experience. The Witch will do something similar I believe. While the movie takes place just sixty years before the Salem Witch Trials, it focuses on the same kind of events. However, the witch-hunt only comes on when the family loses their main source of crops and begins to descend into domestic turmoil, trapped in their bad situation, they turn on each other.
It’s these kind of psychological aspects to horror movies that are ultimately rewarding, if not for sheer terror, for their layers of density. This scenario combined with the terror of realism is what made The Babadook successful,combining motherhood stress and fear with inner psychotic turmoil.
Perhaps we are in for a revolution in horror films where this is the trend. Psychological manifestations take over and put people in a situation of horror. This surely makes the concept seem more frightening, as it can be uniquely real and seen through the eyes of the antagonist.
Another haunting aspect of this film could be the use of time. We don’t know exactly when the film is taking place. This seemed to be one for the winning factors for the recent horror expose ‘It Follows’. The director took you in a little deeper by never fully stating what time period the film was supposed to take place, and that technique only adds to the sense of claustrophobia the viewer enjoys.
If you have any reservations about checking out this film it’s pretty recommended you read the feedback on rotten tomatoes, which features plenty of fresh reviews from the film’s premiere at Sundance. Although it appears the film will be missing us this October, and that’s a big shame because a later release might just miss the desired market altogether. Before too late we might be seeing a flux of movies with this style. While The Witch seems like it could be before its time, let’s hope the red tape it’s production house is able to get the movie out soon.
Ryan De La Rosa is counting down the days to Hallows Eve; follow him on twitter
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