Robert Eggers film based on his screenplay may be the first horror film in iambic pentameter or Olde English that I have ever seen. A cross between Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE and THE HAUNTING, it’s a film that is hard to categorize since I’m actually reluctant to really say it’s horror we are watching here. Much of the dialogue was taken from court transcripts of women accused of witchcraft and the attention to detail in recreating 17th Century New England is beautifully realized. Life back then was not for the faint of heart and much can be read into this story of religious fundamentalism and hysteria. The Pilgrims were capable of being highly intolerant, often expelling fellow citizens of their colonies into the woods to die to the elements if they did not conform to their rigid sense of standards and beliefs. Though this picture ventures into the realm of the supernatural, I wasn’t always sure if what was happening was real or not in the imagination of the characters involved. I believe this is what Mr. Eggers intended but at times lends a certain confusion as to where this story is going. It appears to be implied here that much of the witchcraft issues emanated from the Pilgrims themselves and their fanatical sense of religion, God and the Bible, which is actually explored in a rather fascinating way, though in the end I felt like saying “What the hell was that all about?” Very well cast with Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson, all of whom acquit themselves quite well in their roles.
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