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John Connor [Celluloid 08.19.15] horror history

In this exquisitely-made and highly anticipated new horror film, concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling.

Writer/director Robert Eggers' debut feature premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition. The film painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions and pagan folklore famously clashed. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin (played by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy) The Witch is being hailed as a groundbreaking new take on the genre.

Set in New England circa 1630, The Witch follows a farmer who get cast out of his colonial plantation and is forced to move his family to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest rumored to be controlled by witches. Almost immediately, strange and unsettling things begin to happen-the animals turn violent, the crops fail, and one of the children disappears, only to return seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. As suspicion and paranoia mount, everyone begins to point the finger at teenage daughter Thomasin. They accuse her of witchcraft, which she adamantly denies...but as circumstances become more and more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty, and love will be tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie and sees release in 2016 (no specific date has been released)

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