EFC 10: The Witch

Feat. The Music of Shearwater (in a special EFC music video!)

“Oh, God, my Lord, I now begin. Oh, help me and I’ll leave my sin. For I repent and thou shall be. Thru evil I will turn to thee. Whomever shall destroy my faith. For I repent and thou shall be.”

It takes just one scene for Robert Eggers’ Witch to earn its price of admission. Maybe one shot, even. For me at least. That scene occurs at a pivotal moment in the story when Caleb, alone in the dark forest, and cradling his father’s rifle, begins frantically praying.

caleb-praying

Then the scene cuts to Thomasin, who raises her head toward the cold grey sky. She realizes it’s much darker now than when she fell unconscious. The frigid twilight air caresses her cheek, as she senses the eerie calmness that has gripped the surrounding woods. Then, panic sets in. Where is Caleb? Where is her beloved baby brother?

thomasin-2

The scene reminds me of that terrible feeling I had, first around Caleb’s age, and again around Thomasin’s. It was a surreal feeling of intense loneliness and lasting terror that colored every sight, scent, and sound. To this day nothing has ever felt more palpable, nor remained so inexplicable. Only through metaphor could I hope to describe it. I liken the feeling to a cold autumn twilight, which seems appropriate because the feeling always occurred during the fall.

* * *

Cold Autumn Twilight

Vanilla Sky.jpg

{ I remember the terror I felt on that cold autumn twilight. Terror, before I thought I knew what it meant. I remember that fantastic shiver. The rich smell of fallen leaves and fresh fireplace charcoal. There was just enough daylight to see the chalky plumes of smoke billowing out of my neighbors’ chimneys. I remember that vanilla sky, and the soft orange glow of the tiny windows that beckoned me from a distance. I yearned to be warm behind one of them.

surreal-cottage-1

Yet still I sat paralyzed by the mystery surrounding me. The scene appeared calm, but the air was electric with a kind of energy that sight and sound could not touch – only some more primal and powerful sixth sense. It felt like the smokey, olfactory taste in my mouth, except the sensation spread to every nerve ending in my body, and rendered the world surreal.

super-sureal-witchhouse

Although I tried I could not speak of it. Like Dali’s clocks, words would melt upon lost ears. Fool’s fruit stolen from a forbidden labyrinth. No, I could only feel it. And it was a beautiful feeling, a terrible feeling.

I do not think I could will myself to feel it again, not without a guarantee that it would all soon end. For, at the time I did not realize its ephemeralness. For all my puerile mind knew, the feeling would last for the remainder of my life. And I could not bear it. I wanted to scream.

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893
Munch, Edvard. The Scream (1893).

It was like God had cranked the intensity dial to the max, and then left to go run errands without saying when he’d return. Nonetheless I prayed to the Lord, just as Caleb does so desperately when he’s lost in the woods. I prayed for mercy, for absolution from my sins, the nature of which I could not know. All I knew was that I’d do anything, say anything, believe in anything to stop that dreadful, cold autumn twilight terror. }


EFC 10 Music Video (Feat. “Prime” by Shearwater)


The Witch

Release Date: February 19, 2016 (USA)
Rated: R

Director: Robert Eggers (Directorial Debut)
Writer: Robert Eggers (Debut)
Starring: Ralph Ineson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson

The Inside Out: Fear (39%), Sadness (20%), Anger (10%), Disgust (8%), Joy (3%).

Fear looking1Sadness holding memory ball

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2 thoughts on “EFC 10: The Witch

  1. raistlin0903

    What a great post! Well described indeed 😀 This movie had such an incredibly dark and foreboding atmosphere. It’s what made this movie so scary. Next weekend I have my Halloween party, and I will get to show all the past horrormovies I have been watching these past few days. This one I’m looking forward to seeing again the most.😀

    Liked by 1 person

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