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Friedland

The Witch (2016) [Spoilers]

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Friedland

Very unsettling film by the looks of things. May be of interest to folks on here....

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AdamAlexander

My wife and I saw it last night and enjoyed it. Definitely a creepy film.

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Aklo

My wife and I saw it last night and enjoyed it. Definitely a creepy film.

 

Adam, not trolling for spoilers here, but IS there actually any black magic or supernatural elements in this movie? I've gotten the impression its actually more of a psychological thriller, rather than a horror movie.

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AdamAlexander

Adam, not trolling for spoilers here, but IS there actually any black magic or supernatural elements in this movie? I've gotten the impression its actually more of a psychological thriller, rather than a horror movie.

 

Aklo,

 

 

yes to both, but not much of either. This is mostly a drama/psychological thriller and very creepy throughout

 

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fieldworking

My partner and I rather enjoyed this film, though I cannot say that the irritating fellows behind us did, prattling on and laughing like five-year-olds at any and all intimations of nakedness. The audience seemed a bit split on the film, but it's right up my alley--odd and creepy. It would make a good double-billing with the surreal-hallucinogenic film 'A Field in England.'

 

It also interested me that it was filmed in Algonquin Park at the abandoned townsite of Kiosk, Ontario, Canada. That's not far from my neck of the woods, so I was keen to see it on film, even if it was masquerading as New England.

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Aklo

 Woah! This sounds really good!

 

Thanks for the hint AdamAlexander, between this and Friedland's review, I'm seeing it this weekend for sure.

 

Glad to hear its getting positive review WinstonP but I'll hold off anymore spoilers.

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AdamAlexander

Happy to help

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Mysterioso

Well worth catching in the theatre if one can.

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Aklo

Hmm...just saw it in theaters, and it was very interesting. I'd enjoy a spoilers discussion on the film, anybody pick up on any symbolism of overall message? It felt truly stark to me, a grisly Grimms fairy tale, straight, to the point, and shocking in its depiction of violence. Very good film...but very odd, and as my theater audience will attest, quite outside the usual horror fare.

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AdamAlexander

I'm game for a thread where spoilers abound.

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Badger

My wife and i saw this in the theatre last month (or so), and it's out on Blu-ray today.

 

I highly, highly recommend The VVitch. The atmosphere and sense of foreboding is oppressive, the acting spot on (with some amazing performances by the children in particular), and the sense of time and place is nailed pretty damn well. 

 

The VVitch is more of a slow burn, with hardly any jump scares or the typical horror tropes that are used nowadays. And the story will have you guessing as to whether it's all real, or religious-induced panic that's at the heart of it all.

 

I'm honestly not sure i'd call it a "horror" movie. But i don't know how else to categorize it. Needless to say, if you're a horror fan, go see it. If you have any thoughts on running a Colonial Lovecraft campaign or one shot, this movie will give you plenty of ideas and starting points.

 

It's awesome. Can't wait to see it again.

 

-=badger

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Nick Storm

Chances are, if you are a denizen of this forum, you will love the VVitch.

 

and let's face it, it's not too often ya get to use two V's together!

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JorgePedraboa

As Badger said, it is a slow burn, but boy, it burns. Great movie and in my opinion one of the best of the newer ones. I am not fond on jumpscares, so I found it great! 

I believe that those that didn't like it were specting a typical slasher or something in the genra.

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noahghola

Just watched this last night, and thought it was fantastic. I kept thinking Lovecraft throughout the movie, not because anything overtly mythos-related occurs, but because the forces at work seem utterly uncaring for the people in the film. They're utterly helpless, as those who encounter the mythos always are. That being said, some of the scenes in the film would make for wonderful descriptions to incorporate into a game--I'm thinking particularly of the fire scene in the woods (if you've seen it you know which one) at the very end of the film. 

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yronimoswhateley

I would say the film has a lot less in common with Lovecraft, than one of Lovecraft's subtler and more rarely-mentioned influences in Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

 

I saw this film a few days ago myself - I'm not sure really how I feel about it yet. 

 

It's not a bad film, but it's not an easy film for me to love:  it's unrelentingly bleak and pessimistic.  Expect no happy ending in this film, no ray of hope, and not even any sense that the characters deserve on any level what happens to them.  If you are really up for a film in which the universe simply does not care about what happens within it, and the victims and anything they say or do truly does not matter on any scheme grander than the occasional brief, frail moment between two characters shuddering beneath a vast and uncompromising alien wilderness and the forces of evil hiding within it, then this film should certainly deliver.  In the end, though, I can't imagine there's much pleasure for even the most ghoulish among us to take away from this film.

 

Still, in spite of my misgivings, the scares were effective, the atmosphere and scenery were both chilling and beautiful, and I found myself caring quite a bit for the family and what happens to them in spite of (or because of) their many imperfections and weaknesses.

 

I wouldn't characterize the film as "Lovecraftian", but there's still a lot here that fans of Lovecraftian horror can appreciate.  And, anyway, how often is it that you can say you've seen a "Hawthornian" horror film?  (Truly, the 1963 Vincent Price anthology film Twice-Told Tales is the only other example I can think of!)

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Aklo

Bam! You've nailed it I think. "Hawthornian" is now a movie term I'll be using in respect to this film and a few others...

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Badger

Heh, i find your comments kind of funny. Late in your review, you say:

 

I wouldn't characterize the film as "Lovecraftian"

 

 

But then earlier, you state (rather accurately, i think):

It's not a bad film, but it's not an easy film for me to love:  it's unrelentingly bleak and pessimistic.  Expect no happy ending in this film, no ray of hope, and not even any sense that the characters deserve on any level what happens to them.  If you are really up for a film in which the universe simply does not care about what happens within it, and the victims and anything they say or do truly does not matter on any scheme grander than the occasional brief, frail moment between two characters shuddering beneath a vast and uncompromising alien wilderness and the forces of evil hiding within it, then this film should certainly deliver. 

 

 

...which is exactly how you would characterize a "Lovecraftian" story. ;)

 

My wife and i watched The VVitch again the other night, and it's just as effective and terrifying the second time around. Poor Caleb...

 

-=b

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Tony Williams

MEGASPOILERSSSSSSSSS....

 

I really liked the film. I especially liked the bargain scene in the barn at the end. Showing less is more there...

 

I wouldn't call it Lovecraftian unless you want to infer the entity she made the bargain with was an another aspect of Narly ( but there is no evidence given or intended to that fact in the film ).

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Nick Storm

A friend of mine's Wife works in the Rhode Island Historical Society. She said that all the 'odd' occurrences in the film were taken from actual written accounts of witchcraft or the like in that area / time - The Massachusetts Bay Colony. The various animals, Calebs disappearance and distress to include his litany, ect. 

 

Just an excellent film. I use it for 'profiling' purposes - to determine who is worthy of further film reviews and literature discussion at cocktail parties, if they enjoyed it as well.

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yronimoswhateley

Heh, i find your comments kind of funny. Late in your review, you say:

 

 

 

But then earlier, you state (rather accurately, i think):

 

...which is exactly how you would characterize a "Lovecraftian" story. ;)

 

My wife and i watched The VVitch again the other night, and it's just as effective and terrifying the second time around. Poor Caleb...

 

-=b

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

Just as not everything that has tentacles is Lovecraftian, not everything that is bleak and hopeless is Lovecraftian - otherwise, we could call Orwell's 1984 one of the most Lovecraftian stories of all :)

 

The plot and themes of The Witch lead down to just about as much a downer ending as it could possibly be, but I didn't find them particularly Lovecraftian, and I didn't find the antagonist witches to have much in common with Lovecraft's villains, without reading a lot more into the film than what I saw.

 

Perhaps if there's been some hint that the daughter was descended from the witches, or some suggestion of tragedy befalling characters for reading too deeply into things humans weren't meant to know, or some indication of an intrusion from a pre- or extra-human civilization, some whisper of the Gothic obsession with unearthed secrets or grumble of Lovecraft's dread of the Outsider and the alien within, I might have felt a connection to Lovecraft.

 

In the end, I could perhaps see something "Lovecraftian" about that beautiful, unearthly wilderness:  I could possibly draw some comparisons to the frozen polar wastelands in "At the Mountains of Madness" and perhaps something of the Dreamlands, and I could imagine it making a gorgeous setting for a campaign based on stories by Algernon Blackwood and Lovecraft.  Throw in some mysterious ruins, a portal or two into another world, strange peoples and monsters within the trees, dark and ancient legends and myths and tablets and scrolls and books of secrets to read, and I think your onto the potential for a fun CoC game.

 

But, to my eyes, the film still hits far more of Hawthorne's favorite themes than Lovecraft's:

 

 

"Hawthorne's major themes and thematic patterns include self-trust versus accommodation to authority; conventional versus unconventional gender roles; obsessiveness versus open-mindedness; hypocrisy versus candor; presumed guilt or innocence; forms of nurturance and destructiveness; the penalties of isolation; crimes against the human heart; patriarchal power; belief in fate or free will; belief in progress (including scientific, technological, social, and political progress) as opposed to nostalgia for the past; the truths available to the mind during dream and reverie; and the impossibility of earthly perfection." - (link)

 

 

 

 

Don't take my word for it, though - I'm certainly not the final authority, I've only seen The Witch once, and perhaps a second viewing might reveal something I missed.  I was apparently in the minority in feeling that at least a couple of the Hellraiser films covered "Lovecraftian" ground, and I'm open to any good arguments that would change my mind about The Witch, so fire away :)

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Badger

yronimoswhateley, just so you know, i'm not trying to pick on you. And in fact, i agree with you that there's nothing about The VVitch that is particularly Lovecraftian. "Hawthorneian" makes a lot more sense. The movie has it's roots firmly dug in the folklore of New England (i've watched the Q&A with the writer/director, who stated as much over and over), rather than anything HPL ever wrote..

 

That being said, i think one could argue that some of the themes presented in The VVitch could be compared to Lovecraft's. And that a Keeper could draw many an influence from it.

 

tl;dr- you and i are more in agreement than my previous post indicated.. :)

 

-=badger

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