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not born; she is made. In her making, her humanity is destroyed. She becomes
symbol of this, symbol of that: mother of the earth, slut of the universe; but
she never becomes herself because it is forbidden for her to do so.”
“Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics”
I love this movie so much. It scared me when I saw it in theaters in 2015 and it was just as good to rewatch in 2019. There are better stills available but I really want you to watch the movie and let it unfold as the storytelling is fantastic.
A family is banished from their village because they are suspected of witchcraft. The father adamantly denies it and he and his wife (Liza of the Vale) move their family to a remote area. All areas are remote in New England during the time of pilgrims and so being banished from your village is really bad. But they pray as a family and settle on a location to build a homestead.
As one super strange thing after another happens to this family they have to decide which of them has made a pact with the devil. And it’s not little things that can be explained away - it’s huge things. Terrible things that only witches do to people. It scared the crap out of me.
This film is not for everyone. When I saw it in theaters the response from someone in the audience was, and I quote, ‘What the fuck was that?” The language is old fashioned, the terror is subversive, and the conclusion is really weird. I just love it.
So happy Robert Eggers made this film and that he put these actors together to play this family. I have to talk just a bit about the cast. Even though, I know that no one reads on the internet.
The father, played by Ralph Ineson, someone I am not familiar with and know nothing about. But I wanted him to lead so badly and I wanted him to succeed and be strong. Kate Dickie plays the mom, who I already mentioned is Game of Thrones alum. Her maternal insanity is first rate. Not just because I see her as the goofy Liza still breast feeding her 8-year-old. But she really is trying to make sense and follow the Lord and things just keep getting fucked up. Totally great casting. The younger brother, Caleb, played by HarveyScrimshaw, whose age is not readily available on IMDB - was so good! He mastered the language and his desire to be a man and help his father and his family was so real to me that I look forward to seeing the kid in more stuff. Then Anna Taylor-Joy in her first credited role plays the eldest child and mothers-little-helper. Innocent yet budding. In trouble all the time. Can’t seem to do anything right. She was great. Look forward to seeing her in more stuff as well.
Lastly, Robert Eggers who wrote and directed this treat. I’ll tell you it takes a lot to scare me and he managed it. I am so looking forward to his next film, The Lighthouse. In theaters now.
So I guess you can tell I like this one. For the modern set of horror films, this one is top notch. It’s #25 on the list of top 150 horror films. The infamous ‘list’ I keep referring to and disagreeing with. But I’m glad it’s at least toward the top. They got something right.