The new land of America, was seen both as heaven and as hell by those who landed there from Europe in the 1700s. I don’t want to get bogged down in the language of ownership, colonialism and country that is a part of both left and right wing rhetoric. THE VVITCH from Robert Eggers however does. It wants to descend into the age with all its poisoned religiosity and political chicanery. Via the troupes of primal, pagan and occultist horror, it travels a path that is slow and hard going but on arriving at its destination, it leaves the viewer horrified. Trapped inside a nightmare of humanity’s worst fears.

New England of the 17th century, is a collecting of forts and small farms that offer little hope. When one family is banished from a Puritan settlement, for being to puritan, they have to set up a farm by the edge of a huge remote forest where nothing seems to live. Soon though, noises are heard, chills are felt and a sinister force begins a terrible drive to annihilate them.

Robert Eggers film was wrong lambasted on its release by some. They saw it and then connected it to the films of Ari Aster, whose slorror (that is slow horror to you and me) is both challenging to the mind and the buttocks. Eggers film is far more driven by tropes (here the 70s witchfinder / occultist films) and also the delicate, but ultimately savage stories in history. THE VVITCH drips its feed to the viewer but never without a shocking scene dumped into it along the way, nor an over whelming sense of dread in how things are so poisonous for a family trapped in a space they neither want or that wants them. This is the films greatest strength and its most puzzling feature to divine. It will befuddle and bemuse some. Yet others will, as the audio commentary rightly defines, be left with the impression that the world has a lot of ways that it wants to balance itself. Sometimes these can be consuming and other times they can consume.

The Blu Ray is a lovely standard affair (I didn’t get the UHD for reasons that readers wanted to Blu). It doesn’t up the game on the original release but the UHD will and it is right to seek this out for the addition of that, so as in the future, you can take advantage to enjoy! The disc has a few new pieces that are worth noting, Anna Bogutskaya commentary is insightful, intelligent and muddles through but is in the shade of the directors older one. Ana Taylor interview is more interesting now she is a well known actress. She might have more to say about the film as she gets older though, so watch this space. But among all the talking heads and blah in my opinion is the excellent Brothers: a short film by Robert Eggers. This has been given a clean up and is worth the ticket price alone. Young film makers beware, this is talent in seed and it is a work to learn from indeed!

Special Features 

  • Dual format 4K UHD and Blu-ray (bonus features included on both discs)
  • 4K UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
  • Archive audio commentary by Director Robert Eggers
  • New audio commentary by film writer and broadcaster Anna Bogutskaya
  • A Puritan Nightmare: a new interview with Robert Eggers
  • Embracing Darkness: a new interview with Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Love Thy Father: a new interview Ralph Ineson
  • A Pious Wife: a new interview with Actor Kate Dickie
  • Caleb’s Lament: a new interview with Actor Harvey Scrimshaw
  • A Primal Folktale: features interviews with Robert Eggers and cast
  • BFI London Film Festival Q&A with Robert Eggers, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson and Producer Jay Van Hoy
  • Brothers: a short film by Robert Eggers
  • Optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Peter Diamond
  • 150 page hardback book with new essays by Emerson Baker, Daniel Bird, Anton Bitel, Charles Bramesco, Lillian Crawford, Shelagh Rowan-Legg and Anya Stanley plus stills, costume and production design gallery.
  • 6 collectors’ art cards

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.