“IT” (2017)

It does for Stephen King adaptations what the Evil Dead remake by Fede Alvarez did for Raimi‘s franchise. Although a period piece, director Andy Muschietti (Mama, 2008) and writers Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga give the film a contemporary mind-set, elevating the film to a place where it can shake hands with the source material and not falter.

The film is highly terrifying and unforgiving, it is also somewhat cheap, keeping in mind the Chapter 1 ending; I did wonder, while watching the trailers, where had all the grown up people gone? Nevertheless, despite script reconstruction, directors being changed thrice and multiple recasting, Pennywise has not been more effective in leaving the viewer frantic & shaking like a leaf every time Bill Skarsgård‘s clown is on screen, donning an immaculately designed Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian costume, since the novel’s publication back in the September of good ol’ 1986. It shows up every twenty seven years since the beginning of time or at least since the beginning of the Black Death, abducting children by the thousands; therefore the costume design and its influences make perfect sense. And this guy is no Pied Piper of Hamelin, this monstrosity is Pennywise of Derry in all his gaping mouth of glory.

Relentlessly filmed in the town of Port Hope, which the film crew turned into Derry, and Skarsgård in to Pennywise to which a method was applied by the actor who resembles a young Steve Buscemi. “Keep the children away from me when not shooting“; were Skarsgård’s instructions to the crew and they complied. And I was reminded of Salo, fleetingly; not at all a positive association for a summer film. The cruelty, the first murder that goes on forever like the scene with the infant in Antichrist, 2009. The exchange between Georgie Denbrough and the evil clown has the potential to keep this viewer up at nights. Specially the way Skarsgård changes expressions with intent. Goodness.

The Stand by Me element has been given its due share, serving it like a Stephen King ritual; the seven young people coming of age, the breathtaking aerial shot of the bunch swimming in the local river (Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor Maine also known as The Barrens in the novel). And the fact that every time Pennywise is sneaking behind a corner with a hand visible gives the keen viewer, the horror fan the creeps and total worth for entry is enough fodder for an functional scary picture.

Sometimes the acting becomes a little over the top but then a sighting of the child-eater neutralizes the viewer’s thoughts; not every time though. Whenever the character of Eddie Kaspbrak speaks it seems he’s trying too hard to fit in as a boy with asthma; a hypochondriac child with a dominating mother. Hurdles that he must overcome if the monster is to be defeated. Much like Bill (Billy) Denbrough’s stammer, Beverly Marsh’s dad and so on.

The scary scenes are as it is frightening and when the ominous score starts to walk hand-in-hand with the visuals is when things get truly terryfying, complete to a haunted house, which must be entered if the nightmare has to end. The imagery leaves one looking behind the shoulder; wiping the sweat off his palms against the jeans.Having said that a little more dread and gradation would have done so much to bring the child-characters to fruition. Plus the more we see of Pennywise the less scary he gets, unless he’s dressed like Georgie and Billy’s mum and staring right at the camera, through it with its yellow, glowing eyes; his smile, now a snarl, growing wider with the passing of each frame.

The frenzy with which Pennywise approaches it’s victims is praiseworthy along-with the transformations in the final scenes of conflict. This version of the film is definitely higher than the conventions of a big budget horror film made in these times. Plus I hear it has the blessings of Mr. King himself, so what the hell; go watch it and do not miss the diminutive homage to films like Batman, 1989, Lethal Weapon (1987) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, 1989.

A sequel is planned for early 2018.

“DER TOTMACHER (THE DEATHMAKER)”, 1995

Based on real-life serial killer Fritz Haarmann, Der Totmacher entirely focuses on the psychological examination of the killer by Prof. Dr. Ernst Schultze, astutely played by actor Jürgen Hentsch. The killer is portrayed in an illustrative and selectively drawn & an underhanded performance by Götz George.

The Professor is emphatic until he cannot be emphatic anymore, the composure of the Medical Profession and the professors neutral but stern questions become subconscious attacks on the killer as the good doctor learns more of the killer’s brutal, barbaric, egregious and demoniac acts of utter depravity. Harmann was known as the Vampire of Hanover for reason of biting off the jugular off his young victims (twenty seven in all), when foreplay began, and presumably ended right then.

“Twenty One, fifty a hundred; it does not matter now. They will cut my head anyway. Tell them not to use a blunt object, I don’t want them to hurt me. I would like to meet my executioner.”

The good doctor Schultze keeps throwing the details of the crimes to Haarmann’s face as he grimaces, puts his head down, wonders what his dead mother would think, projects blame, describes his incestuous relations with his sister or sisters; a gentleman with whom he had slept as a child. And finally joins the doctor in detailing his MO, recounting the unspeakable crimes in full detail.

“He fucked me from behind… but… but, I didn’t do it to him”
“Did you ‘suck’ him?”
“Yes and he took care of me.”
“You know that sodomy or ‘sucking’ is both punishable”
“Yes…”
“Did you like it”
“I told my sister I could not get an erection with women, she was angry.”
“Did you have ever have sex with a woman?”
“I had a fiance, I had sex with her, it was so good.”

We watch with cynicism as the camera encircles the interrogation table repeatedly as the two men talk; their expressions changing each time it comes full circle, to face (in passing) either of the two people.

The tension increases as both, the killer and the good doctor start to lose it by the end, which is still forty five minutes away. The killer is being scrutinized to determine his sanity in a room at a Göttingen medical school.

The entire 110 minutes of Der Totmacher have been shot in a brown and green room with high walls, a table, a few chairs, a barred window (only the good doctor and Harmann know what is outside). The director leaves us in the room, not letting us move from our seats, which have become a part of the sitting arrangement in the placid room that is boiling with emotions of disgust, decapitations, human sausages fried in human fat and other atrocities being undertaken on the Dark Side of the Moon.

The room also has a stenographer (Pierre Franckh), as was the case in real life. The film is based on the transcript of the exchanges between Dr. Schultze and a manic and mocking Harmann.

The killer played by Götz George (Tatort, 1970) does a high-grade job of projecting a certain, peculiar state of mind to the audience, his mannerism changing from being terrified of being executed; “I’ll tell my mother I died in the war“, and making advances towards the young stenographer. George as Harmann is highly effective in displaying disquieting trepidation and pure joy in equal quantity. That is until the questions become too hard to bear (or do they?) and Harmann approaches the doctor a second time to hug him. The first time he had tried, the good doctor’s finger pointing towards the chair had worked. Not this time, though.

“You’re NOT mad”
“I’m not crazy, I sent them away”

The film has the potential to scare more than a real-deal horror film; only if the keen viewer does not get lost in translation. For German speakers the film must’ve been a treat. I wish I could speak German and Disney.

With grand, imposing and magnificently sumptuous performances and a screenplay that tears through the heart and keeps going, Der Totmacher is a film about just one man among many who are driven to the depths of depravity and treachery and also start to like the taste of young blood – it is a film that does not show, but gains access in to the mind of one of the most evil men in history, for the audience to deliberate, in all the discomfort the dialogues have succeeded to manufacture.

Director Romuald Karmakar is clever, cruel and also gracious. He knows his close-up shots, he knows the perfect zoom-out as Harmann lifts his head laughing (minutes before he was shedding real tears). Karmakar manages to fill his film with dread and the contradiction of examining a convicted killer and trying very hard to determine his condition to face trial.

Watch closely as both men are at each others throats (Harmann is calm and delusional and scheming, the doctor is fuming at the ears); everything comes across as something that could actually have happened in the room at the hospital.

A mug-shot of the real life ‘bad boy’

M, 1931 by Fritz Lang and Tenderness of the Wolves,1973 is also based on the Butcher of Hanover. He sure did make an impression.

A must watch.

“DER TODES KING (THE DEATH KING)”, 1990

This review may contain spoilers.

So this is art-house horror? I wouldn’t have known had I not watched this cadaver surgery experiment gone horribly wrong by turning my back to the screen, bending and watching it from between the legs.

The film shows to us a death or two or three, spanning over seven days, beginning with Montag and ending on a Sonntag. It focuses on suicide; rather it shows the banality (without having done much or any research, it seems) on suicide and also tries very hard to make the act seem sacred and powerful. It fails miserably though, to its horror. With dust, maggots, spinsters, fish, first-blood, retardation, no script, cheap film and bad acting among other less than impressive display of show n’ tell flourishes, the emotions and the sterile message are under rug swept.

Todesking begins with a nude man lying on the floor and eventually rotting; a body decaying in time lapse. At one point the thing looked like the robot from I, Robot, 2004 and then shit got real – the latter being the central framing, which the film keeps returning to, (angst-horror director) Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik, 1987) throws in our faces images that tell how random people take their own lives and sometimes that of others. The film takes itself so seriously that it writes it down for you, it reads out its philosophy to you; straight from a red book (not that Red Book), it distributes handbills with its ‘ah, such intellect, I can suck my own cock‘ messages (read: balderdash metaphors that look like old anti Gestapo/sexploitation films by Jesus Franco) printed on them.

It is so serious that the last shot is of the poster in close-up, panning from top to bottom and a girl drawing The Death King in her notebook. She looks into the camera and says, “he makes suicide”. Like, manufactures it. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

It also gives itself a brain haemorrhage on Sunday by banging its head against the wall about, say, fifty times or so.

That is one asshole way to go.

Huh? Wha…?

No, but seriously, why so serious?

“A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT” (2014)

This review may contain spoilers.

Highly atmospheric and equally stylish with unparalleled cinematography by Lyle Vincent,  Night begins with a petty kidnapping (?) as an Eastern James Dean, complete to the rolled trouser legs, a white T-shirt and greased hair (just that he is not surrounded by happy, cheerful, school-kids), walks past something, which to this viewer came off as being ambiguous. A futile attempt at showing the effects of war in a country perpetually ravaged by conflicts of the 1100 AD Crusades variety. The title itself is implicating a country where the movement of women is restricted and highly disguised, repressed; add to that the vampire folklore and boys & girls, we have a masterpiece in the making.

Pay close attention to the poster on the left side of the image

The wars, it seems, have created a counter culture. The youth are in revolt against guns, bazooka’s, grenades and night-vision (for all the wrong reasons); revolting with guitars, cameras, paint brushes and words. And the latter is not without the war torn angst that all countrymen harbour; all countrymen but those working against the State.

Iran’s fleeting answer to James Dean

This is shown with visuals of industrial oil extracting equipment penetrating Earth again and again. Visuals that punctuate the entire film (some directly after a murder scene) where a certain connection can be made to the drawing of blood with the huge-ass conductor pipes and boreholes (proboscis, needles?); piercing the land like huge tentacles from a Gareth Edwards or a Verhoeven film.

The film is shot in silver, chrome to lovely effect. The black and white enhances the sharp features of the ancient Persian Empire and the Zoroastrian people. Our Iranian Danny Zuko walks past someone leaning against a wall. The viewer is taken back to Hollywood of the 1920’s when women donned the flappers, took upon a La garçonne look. The features of this person resemble a heroine straight from a silent film, where lips are barely noticeable, with a sharp and a pointy nose and eyes painted with mascara, making them look bigger and hence making them the most prominent feature. Feels like Director Ana Lily Amirpour (Ketaab -‘Book’, 2010) pays a slight secret agent “cue” nod to the silent era of Hollywood-noir.

Certain scenes come across as being truly uncomfortable and at the same time highly entertaining. The Junkie dad who is dependent on his son and the recurring misogynist TV presenter telling women how awesome they are doing what the state prefers of them; making homes. That is ancient, now the women are contributing 37% to the GDP. Iran realised that if the sanctions would never be lifted then perhaps women should be allowed to work.

The Vampire is a metaphor for the moral police; the antagonist’s veil symbolises spying and a cloaked Count that also helps in the transformation of the highly desirable (in all modesty, well…) Sheila Vand, who gives a mute, calm performance; except when the fangs pop out; as The Girl. In a few scenes Vand uses her charms to draw victims in and then the make-up crew changes everything just before The Girl lurches at her victims. She maims her victims with the speed of Quicksilver from X-Men. A nice touch; actually absolutely frightening and highly remarkable, exceptional to watch.

The asexuality of the characters goes a long way in showing the repressed yet Acid popping youth, at an underground and in shambles trance club, approaching the opposite sex with extreme caution or with a “Khomeini may care” attitude. It’s probably in the new Iranian generation’s blood.

Amirpour shoots her short (yes short) film with the calm of white noise from a turntable and the fiery consumption of cigarettes that crackle at every inhale. It works like a Swiss Watch. However, the 101 minutes could have been made shorter by doing away with the extra symbolism included in Night. It forms a clutter, you see; specially with the subs. Although I could easily pick up words from Persian and that added to my viewing pleasure. Urdu (my mother tongue) is partially derived from Persian.

This is not Only Lovers Left Alive, nor is it Let the Right One In. This is a film that tries to explain a politically suppressed yet an Iran that will not give up, simple. We are shown its everyday struggle for identity and dodging the penalising, disciplinarian stare of recompense. Shown here through the eyes of The Girl with Bubikopf hair.

Once again, the anti-establishment (or pro-state, you decide) hence the film with a sheath-like undertone is more about the grim, although highly charged (in its anticipation) atmosphere and it is simply an arresting and striking and an extremely good-looking film that does not mind throwing one gorgeous scene after another at us, making us believe that a narrative is playing in the back somewhere. Similarly, after the viewing, we think the film is visually violent but pay close attention.

Mr. Bootleg Motherfucker

Coupled with a lovely soundtrack that fits the scenes like gloves, making them even more moody and sullen and gothic – the film is elevated to a plane of shimmering A-Grade film making. Keep a lookout for Motherfucker from Kick-Ass 2, 2013; that bends on the autistic spectrum. Nothing personal. For those suffering from it. It isn’t too bad. I would not know. Or… fuck it.

And what the fuck? A woman bathing in the nude; boobies moment in Iran? NO WAY! That would be like calling a homosexual a homosexual in the outback region of Australia or the Castro District, San Francisco.

The movie was shot entirely in Sacramento and Bakersfield in Cali. Makes complete work-hazard sense.

A great film, with lovely, heart wrenching and an almost sultry texture, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is nothing short of an effective horror film from a country facing bigger horrors everyday of their lives.

“Are you a good boy?”

No response.

“Are you a good boy?”

No response.

“I am asking you for the last time. Are you a good boy?”

The boy nods slightly.

I’ll always be with you, I’ll be watching you forever.”

The ending shows a car’s plate that reads Shehar-budd, as the vehicle and its passengers dissolve in to the night, leaving Bad City behind.

An all alone must watch.

“THESIS” (1996)

Does snuff exist?

I’m gonna smash someone’s head open with a sledgehammer and record the whole thing on a two hundred year old camera, which will record shit because of the way I handle the equipment, the next time I hear that. I swear to grainy, out of focus, shaky, monochrome, visuals of women tied to chairs and masked men doing what they do in films like Tesis.

Tesis has a fairly original plot for its time but sadly it does not have a long shelf life. When film student Ángela (Ana Torrent) decides to focus her research paper on violence in pictures and its blah de blah de dah effects, she unwittingly discovers a tape (Noooooo waaaay), which her horror freak fellow student Cheema (Fele Martínez) validates as a real deal snuff. The movie stops and displays this on the screen:

OMG!

I’m only kidding. Plus you would have known that anyway because ‘OMG’, a… an acronym was not in use that long ago. When people still communicated like regular people and not code breakers or Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, 1995. 

A spooky, at times, film which Alejandro Amenabar (The Others, 2001) directs with deft and enough thrills and urban legends to keep the viewer interested. Believable acting from the leads and the overall sickly feel of the film make Tesis a picture that could have been something more vicious like, 8MM, 1999 or the more in your face Untraceable, 2008 and less of a whodunnit thriller.

The baddy Eduardo Noriega from The Last Stand, 2013 is here, all menacing and charismatic. However that does not change the fact that Tesis despite holding on to its central plot does not deliver what is expected of a film based on one of the most frightening and fascinating subjects of all time.

Having said all that, I loved the last five minutes or so.

Does snuff exist?
“It will if you don’t shut up.”

“THE COHASSET SNUFF FILM” (2012)

A mockumentary that actually mocks you with its lead hamming it so much that the scenes which would have been otherwise psychological distressing or highly desperate in their execution, actor Stephen Wu (as the killer) manages somehow to make those highly laughable and ridiculous. Who impersonates Jim Carrey from The Mask while revealing his serial killing plans to his video diary, his big movie project?

Stephen Wu. What a dud.

It all fails miserably.
The one girl that the viewers really want out is the one who escapes. Bummer. The halfhearted direction and writing by Edward Payson (Morbid: A Love Story, 1999) leaves the film looking like a moth infested wardrobe. I mean, this annoying, really fucking irritating actor makes it very hard for the viewer to take things seriously, even when the murders are shot pretty decently – That would be an oxymoron.

Now tell me this. If a young girl is murdered who is the first suspect, her dad. Who is the second suspect? Her ex-boyfriend who had major anger issues. However, that little real life investigative process does not apply to this trash. The killer is seen, in broad daylight, by two people yet no one reports – even though (check this out) the killer goes to school with the escaped victim.

Bad acting is an understatement. This guy should be shot in the stomach.

Using the promotional approach of The Blair Witch Project (all actors are credited as themselves), where the footage was confiscated by the police at the time of the murder but some perverts had downloaded before the torrent was taken down. Story of our lives.

Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar

The store owner claims to have artifacts and personal belongings of serial killers. He starts with the paintings of Gacy and then makes fun of the audience by showing us a wool-work dove made by Manson. In the end, a ridiculous end and impudent end, a seriously flippant end; the store owner shows a yellow rope used by the killer for most of his murders and says that it is his prized possession – I bought it from a cop – (after Dahmer‘s stool sample). So, let me get this straight. The most incriminating piece of evidence (not a tooth or a bone or a pickled tattoo) that the DA will not part with and no cop would even dream of selling it this soon, is at a store around the corner?

What rubbish.

Did I mention how nausea inducing the acting was? Did I think out loud that the lead should be shot? Well, the film also disappoints in giving the audience some closure, any closure in terms of imagining the ways by which one can take the life and the hamming out of the actor.

A complete waste of time and imagination.

“TOKYO GORE POLICE” (2008)

Holy fuck.

The mother of camp, ridiculously strange and a slap in the face of decency, this film is on a perpetual speed-ball rush with highly hammed performances, over the the top and unbelievable action sequences with more blood than in Peace Frog by The Doors. However, is it all that bad?

This mega B-flick is only for a select few. The gore-hounds too may get turned off by the overall treatment of the film and the hyperbolic sequences where wounds or severed limbs (or organs) take shape of deadly weapons; weapons inspired by Cronenberg‘s Existence, 1999 and Videodrome, 1983; to name a few.

Director Yoshihiro Nishimura (The ABCs of Death – segment “Z is for Zetsumetsu, 2012) punctuates his film with faux commercials, which show school girls (straight out of Anime-porn) promoting cute tempered blades and straight razors with customised handles for the cutters, as DSH (self mutilation) is a form of bona fide therapy in future Japan.

 

The police is privatised, and the police force dons samurai costumes, masquerading masks that are so bad that I felt guilty after watching the crazed police force go completely psycho on the citizens. The whacky, spoof advertisements and the privatisation of The Police is a definitive nod to Paul Verhoven‘s, Robocop, 1987 and Starship Troopers, 1997.

We can see that Eihi Shiina (Audition, 1999) as Ruka has taken a liking for this niche genre. I mean, there are films with tons of blood and of-the-wall characters like Tadanobu Asano, Kakihara from Ichi the killer, 2001 who has a wider smile than Joker’s but that’s alright because Takashi Miike turns ulta-violence and gore into thought provoking if hard-to-watch films; and dare I say, the tales and visuals in films by Mike and Chan-wook resemble William Blake‘s body of work.

Conclusion: The So bad that it is good grind-house genre is not new to Japan and once you start watching films like, Machine girl, 2008; Meatball Machine 2005; Mutant Girls Squad, 2010 and other such outrageous Double Features that are simply to make fun of, cringe at, laugh, cringe, no way, cringe and have a great time doing it, you will be hooked if you can stomach the first ten minutes.

The special effects are bad, like pedestrian minus two bad, but the mutations are slimy and truly repulsive, specially when a woman is on all her amputated-fours and dressed like a totally messed up S&M girl. That bit made me think of Gasper Noe and the underground gay club, Rectum from the highly acclaimed Irreversible, 2002.

Pay special attention to the bar scene where the prostitutes, with some serious mutations, are being exhibited for the highest bidder; also keep an eye out for the lower torso with a bite impact measuring in tons; my personal favourite sequences.

Oh my sweet Lord. I still can’t decide if I can go on watching stuff like this (being a sucker for B-films) or stick to the tame (in comparison) Japanese imports, like Gozu, 2003; Suicide Club, 2001; the French outing; Martyrs, 2008; Frontier(s), 2007 and the wonderful The Midnight Meat Train, 2008 with Vinnie Jones? Yup, that’s tame in comparison to this camp brutality.

Have a ball or two, the underground club has plenty of kinks being offered through the A la carte.

“KIDNAPPED (Secuestrados)” (2010)

Home invasion films get a little too scary for me. It has no entertainment worth nor the merit to do so and you know how home invasion films fade to black or simply stop in their track while you’re staring at the screen in sheer disbelief.

The synopsis said the family fights back and they do. Even then I was uncomfortable since get go, which is shot in one long take (like most of the film) and reminds the viewer of the opening credits from Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968. Not when Henry Fonda and Leone shocked the world but the sequence before that, with a single fly buzzing around a man’s head.

Director Miguel Ángel Vivas films the bloody narrative in a distinct and a bold style, using innovative editing where the passage of time is echoed between characters with the use of split screen and the cine-dolly that smoothly navigates the crazy meth-trips and violent outbursts of the bad guys’ intentions.

 

The stress on real-time makes the viewer feel more for the victims even though the character building is done and is swiftly over with as we are introduced to a conventional upper-class family that itself is being introduced to a new habitat by shifting houses. It is when the split-screen merges after an extremely long take that you find yourself drained and exhausted of quite a few sensibilities and the faculty of discerning morality is suddenly snatched from your arms.

The film keeps getting insanely intense as the invaders talk in a foreign language and not Spanish. The Albanian dialogues do not have subtitles and it makes the viewer uncomfortable as the father leans in closer to listen and is then violently pushed back in his place.

The film and Vivas want the viewers to become completely immersed in the narrative and he succeeds although leaving us at a crossroads of sorts that asks whether this genre will ever turn tables like it did back in the Seventies or will the new breed of post-9/11 directors keep rattling our nerves with live footage of a plane flying straight into a building or the new-found mass infatuation with pictorial-war-journalism.

God help us.

“ANTICHRIST” (2009)

This review may contain spoilers.

Do not be mistaken. This is a film by the aberrant and outlandish Lars von Trier, who after a lengthy bout of depression made a film in 2009, which is an uneasy-intimate experience with subtle, slow motion shots of snow fall, an explicit shower sex-scene and babies accidentally falling out of open windows. The camera follows the entire twenty three second fall of the toddler until the tiny thing (I am still trying to convince myself that it was only a film prop; it certainly was, but not the fiendishly beautiful direction) makes contact with asphalt.

The metamorphoses of the film into a full blown violent, psychological horror drama is film-making at its best and most vile. Not everything is in good taste (I look at scissors in a completely different way now), however the imagery and the smoky cinematography by an old friend of Triers, Anthony Dod Mantle make this beast one of the most intriguing, complex, mind-bending, faith-rattling & belief shattering films of all time.

It’s earthy, it’s puerile, it’s Dafoe, it’s Gainsbourg, it is their contorted and extremely sullen and explosively funeral performances, the subconsciously hateful chemistry, their intimate connection, the penetration, the castration, the clitoridectomy home kit deal gone bloody is all like Freud on a coke binge. And in the end it is a numbing masterpiece and more closely; an analogy of loss, grief, companionship, witchcraft, psychiatrist-husband-pants-ego issues and a mother trying to change the shape of her baby boy’s feet by making him wear the left shoe on the right foot and right one on the left. A conflict where all hell breaks loose.

Wrong sides. Completely wrong. God awful wrong. So wrong that it convinces the keen viewer of the animals that not only talk but speak of impending doom.

A fantastic study of a relationship deliberately put to trial and the consequences of denial and a full blown, jaw-dropping revelation towards the end.

Must watch.

“THE WITCH” (2015)

This review may contain spoilers.

The Witch is cruel, fierce, keen, testing, visceral, ferocious, highly unsettling, a historically detailed and a visual achievement by Robert Eggers a newcomer who keeps it discreet; an over the shoulder darkly shot of a naked, pale woman with sagging skin and matted, diseased lumps of hair stuck to the back of her balding head. She is shown crushing and squashing something using a huge wooden grinder and a pedestal press pot to make flying ointment, then smearing it over her flux body and finally masturbating with a long stick the ointment has been rubbed on, also. The Seventeenth Century historians tell us this is how the witches could fly.

Screeching cellos that could rupture the eardrums and (well researched) period dialogues play away while we are shown the dismal and unwelcoming landscape of a Stygian forest where a family has been banished into the wilderness. A devout family with four children and a missing newborn. This is a film with aberrant revelations that make themselves clear in the subconscious as Caleb stares at his sister’s breasts (a manifestation of Puritan repression); motives that could only be driven by dark, gloaming and isolated intentions. – emanations alluding to a season of festivities plagued with rotten crops, doubt and a magical gift that Caleb disgorges much to our disgust and tail-bone intrigue.

Eggers casts an almost prodigious atmospheric spell with a help of a woman coming of age, the eldest child; Thomasin, a strikingly beautiful young woman, who unwittingly (or perhaps not) brings about a ruthless descent of the family into religious delirium and full blown psychosis with striking visuals and a nebulous disposition, which pierces the chest and tears out the heart and raises it high in the air, above the horror assemblage, keeping the viewers on the edge of agony all the way to a consuming finale.

The Witch is profoundly grand in its ominous presentation of subtle scares that fully realise in the viewer’s heads, scaring them witless, once the hype of marketing has been determined to be a mere illusion of peddling (Philip the Goat) jump scares to the potential viewer, who has no idea what he or she is in for.

The Witch is primitive and intrinsically evil in exploring the notion of genre cinema. It is a film concoction of terror, fright, dismay, absolute consternation and a wrathful God . It is perhaps one of the best horror films I have watched in a very long time.

Proceed with prudence as William does, proclaiming in sheer desperation: “Corruption, thou art my father!”