Thursday, May 19, 2016

"The VVitch" (2015) d/ Robert Eggers

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Ignore the tentative online reception of this whopper of wanton witchery spelled with a pair of capital V's,  as doled out by those obese oracles of ordinary genre film,  as streamed live from the backseat of mother's Prius in the parking lot of Ollie's Bargain Outlet, it would seem. Not enough arterial splatter or brain dead boobs for the retro-Freddy crowd, methinks. The authentic 17th century settler-speak as encountered in tonight's review also seems to have put a damper on the Puritanical proceedings for those with no ear for such language, a side effect of the hundred forty-four character Twitter minds who refuse to put down their smart phones and pick up a smart book, instead. No matter,  chums,  for what we have before us tonight is a hauntingly shot, brilliant horror cauldron with an intelligent script, an excellent original score provided by Mark Korven, and enough atmospheric chills and implied grue for any connoisseur of genre cinema to wrap his or her mind around. I think I'm in the market for a goat...

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"We can live to the ripe old age of thirty-four here in this paradise, if God so willeth!"
After departing the Puritan colony for greener pastures, William and Catherine (Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie) laboriously struggle to plant roots with their family, nearly a day's ride away in a pasture surrounded by suspicious, dark forest. Their simple Christian homestead is instantly beset with unpleasantness when baby Samuel inexplicably disappears under Thomasin's (Anya Taylor-Joy) watchful eye during a spirited round of peekaboo. Inside a foul witch's twisted tree hovel deep in the woods, the infant boy is gleefully utilized as bloody bath and body wash for the Satanic spellcaster (Bathsheba Garnett). When William's crops fail miserably, he's forced to sell his wife's silver heirloom goblet to buy food for the impending winter months, his stubborn refusal to cop to the act only leads to further religious bickering and in-fighting between the family. Outside, young Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) insouciantly romp about with the family goat, a personable, handsome fellow named Black Phillip.

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"I haven't seen a white buffalo yet, Uncle Ted!",  notes Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw).
Not content with his current list of broken promises, William takes young Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) into the woods to hunt down some dinner for the folks, only to be outsmarted by a particularly sinister-looking jackrabbit. Equipped with the layout of the forest and knowledge that the family plans to trim its number to lessen the economic strain through eavesdropped late night whispers, Caleb and Thomasin enter the ominous woods themselves, but only Thomasin returns, after a groggy Caleb,  having been split from his sibling, stumbles upon the witch's secluded flat to find a sultry seductress (Sarah Stephens) within. The young children begin relating secrets to their older sister, after having been entrusted with them, guessed it, the pet goat. Accusations of Satanism begin to fly from every direction, and no family member is exempt from the weeding out process. I'll cut the synopsis short here, as the final reel is something you'll really have to see for yourselves to truly appreciate. Brilliant.

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Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) uncovers a secret succulent stash of strawberry preserves.
So yeah, ignore anybody that tells you this one is anything other than a modern masterpiece... or you can just as easily take their word for it and retreat into your horror spaz/hipster comfort zone of forty dollar Andy Milligan blu-rays and  glow variant super deformed urban vinyls of Cute-thulhu, waiting eagerly for the next cookie cutter slasher reboot that Hollywood squeezes into the cinematic toilet. The choice is yours. Call me an idealist, but I'd like to think none of my tastefully cerebral Wopsploitation readers out there fall into the latter category. Five, at the most. If you subscribe to the former camp, on the other hand, congratulations, you've just seen one of the best movies of the year, and arguably one of the best of the last decade. Naturally, a perfect score of Four Wops and my highest recommendation are bestowed upon it. I can hardly wait to sit down and watch the infernal beast again. Obviously, loved it!

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"Pssst, youse guys heard of mah cuzzin...Black Francis?"
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Dr Blood said...

Nope, I didn't like any of it. It missed every note and bored me to tears. The trouble is that more time was spent on creating its historically inaccurate background than working out an intriguing and compelling narrative. It's just another instantly forgettable arthouse film for me, and not in the same league as Witchfinder General, The Wicker Man, The Mark of the Devil, Crowhaven Farm, or a dozens of other witchcraft based efforts.

beedubelhue said...

"Suim cuique." -Cicero

Thanks for the feedback!
I like those other films you mentioned, too.


CowboyX said...

I liked this, reminded me of Antichrist

beedubelhue said...

Hot movie. I dug the pants off of it.


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