Get Your Goat

Kate Dickie as 'Katherine' in "The Witch: A New-England Folktale"Although I booked my ticket for B-Mouth Film & Comic-Con months ago, and would probably enjoy the experience regardless of who they’d booked to appear, I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be anyone there I was super-excited to meet/hassle… until a couple days ago, when they announced that Kate Dickie would be in attendance. Hurrah! Of course, she played the pivotal role of ‘Lysa Arryn’ in Game of Thrones (and pretty much set the entire story into motion, with her fateful letter to the Stark family way back in ep #1.1), which is more than enough reason to want a little face-time with her… but I thought it would be wise to check out some more of her work before the convention, in case we got chatting…

First up was Robert Eggers’ period folk-horror flick The Witch (aka “The VVitch”) (2015), which won over most of the pro critics, but seems to have polarised the general public*, with many nay-sayers dismissing it as “boring” and “not scary” at all. If this film had simply been the story of an ostracised and isolated Puritan family slowly descending into self-induced paranoia and evangelical violence, then I might have agreed with those curmudgeons… but within the first ten minutes, we see definitive (and disturbing) proof that there is in fact an agent of Evil lurking in the nearby forest, intent on doing them physical/spiritual harm. True, there aren’t a lot of big “scares” in the first couple acts… more like a sinister unease that builds and builds until the blood-soaked, bat-crap-crazy finale. It’s a film that demands attention, because any time you look away to grab a drink (as I foolishly did in a couple of the wrong places), you might miss an unsettling little stab of strangeness or grotesquery. Granted, the old-timey language was a little tough to follow at times, and I had to rely on subtitles for some of it (my ears ain’t what they used to be, dagnabbit!), but the visuals have a dark poetry that should travel well in any language.

Anya Taylor-Joy as 'Thomasin' in "The Witch: A New-England Folktale"Although I was mainly watching this for Dickie, who plays the family’s distraught and distrustful matriarch ‘Katherine’, the star of the show is undoubtedly Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays ‘Thomasin’, the unsuspecting ingénue “coming-of-age” in an increasingly hostile and hellish environment. Both Dickie and Taylor-Joy give pitch-perfect performances, quickly drawing you into the drama and dysfunction underlying their mother-daughter dynamic… but I also have to salute the scene-stealing prowess of Ellie Grainger, who takes the “troublesome younger sibling” trope to a whole other level as the bolshy, goat-bothering ‘Mercy’. Bless ‘er.

Clearly this film isn’t everyone’s cup of herbal tea, but it’s already won itself a prime spot on my (metaphorical) list of All-time Faves, and would make a great double-bill with The Wicker Man… which is still the gold standard for the genre, as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately the powers-that-be have chosen not to include any of the American Blu-Ray’s extra features on the UK DVD/BR releases (despite this being where most of the cast actually comes from!), so I’m going to wait and see if any of them appear on the upcoming European editions before making a purchase. ‘Cuz that’s how I roll…

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* On Rotten Tomatoes the film currently has a “Tomatometer” rating of 91% but an audience score of only 55%!

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
This entry was posted in Rants about Films, Rants about TV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Get Your Goat

  1. Pingback: BMTH F&CC ’16 | Valet of the UltraVixens

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