13 October 2017 | meddlecore
Intensely Atmospheric, With Great Performances.
A failing farm family who has recently immigrated to New England, has hit particularly hard times and have become desperate. They have 6 mouths to feed, most of their crops are inedible, the father can't hunt worth sh*t, and they have recently lost a baby to either a wolf or a witch.
The aging mother holds a grudge against her youthful daughter, Thomasina- if only using her as someone to take her anger out on for being stuck desolate in this god forsaken new land. So, she seeks to have her sent away to become someone else's problem.
After overhearing this, the two older siblings set off to do something that is never specifically said. And, while they are out, their horse gets spooked, Thomasina falls off and is knocked unconscious.
She wakes up alone, and makes her way back to the farm. Caleb, it seems, has gone to a house in the woods...the house of a witch...and become bewitched through lust.
He returns naked, in the rain, pecked in the face.
The Twins (two younger siblings) blame Thomasina, because she had jokingly told them she was a witch to scare them when they were being brats. But they took it seriously...and blame her.
Even though it really seems like they (the twins) are the ones doing the bewitching, considering they are the ones talking to their creepy goat Black Phillip.
Either way, Caleb has a demon in him. And they attempt to perform a farmhouse exorcism on him as best they can...during which he coughs up an apple and dies.
To appease his terrified wife, the father locks the rest of the children away with the goats. Hoping that will contain the problem till morning. At which point he will take his daughter to the local plantation.
But sh*t hits the fan, before morning has a chance to roll around. The twins are stolen by some nasty naked witch, and Black Phillip gets loose...goring their father to death.
Now, only the mother is left, and she immediately attacks her daughter...ignoring her own godly premonition...turning against the only one who is left...the only one who is truthful, and good.
And there is only one thing you can do when you're getting choked to death...
This film is very atmospheric, and does a great job of putting you in a position of empathy with Thomasina- who we are, sort of, experiencing events through.
But what really stands out, are the performances. For a period piece, with lots of Olde English (I had to watch with subtitles), everyone does a spectacular job. Ralph Ineson probably does the best job, as the father- it's like he stepped right out of the 1700's. The twins are both creepy as all hell- their unison responses send chills down your spine. Harvey Scrimshaw's portrayal of a bewitched and possessed Caleb is simply mindblowing, coming from such a young dude. And Anya Taylor-Joy's portrayal of Thomasina is absolutely genuine, on a purely human level.
The ending, however, is very abrupt. And left me wanting more. I felt they could have stretched the film a bit longer, and used that to develop her initiation more.
But it's not my film, so who am I to complain.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.
7 out of 10.