How The Witch Paved the Way for Eggers and Taylor-Joy

I remember watching “The Witch” without knowing much about it. I only heard, through fellow “The Blair Witch Project” fans, that this could have been the origin story for the Blair Witch herself. If that’s you, here’s a bit of an intro. “The Witch” is a chilling and atmospheric horror film that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Set in 17th-century New England, the film follows a Puritan family that is banished from their community and forced to live on the edge of a dark and foreboding forest. As they struggle to survive in their new home, they begin to experience strange and terrifying events that suggest the presence of an evil witch in their midst.

The Witch And Her Themes

“The Witch” explores themes of religious fanaticism, demonic possession, and paranoia. Set in 17th century New England, the film tells the story of a Puritan family who are banished from their community due to a religious disagreement. As they try to make a new life for themselves in the wilderness, strange and terrifying occurrences begin to happen, leading the family to suspect that they are being haunted by an evil witch.

One of the primary themes of the film is religious fanaticism. The family’s deeply held religious beliefs and strict adherence to Puritan values contribute to their isolation and eventual downfall. The father, William, is consumed by his own religious fervor and believes that his family’s misfortunes are a punishment from God. He becomes increasingly desperate to find a way to prove his worthiness and to redeem his family, leading him to make increasingly risky decisions.

Another theme explored in the film is demonic possession. As the family becomes more and more isolated, they begin to turn on one another, accusing each other of being possessed by Satan. This paranoia and suspicion lead to violence and ultimately to tragedy.

The film also explores the theme of female power and sexuality. The character of Thomasin is portrayed as a young woman coming into her own sexuality and struggling to assert herself in a male-dominated society. The film suggests that her burgeoning sexuality and independence are perceived as a threat by the patriarchal forces around her, including her own family.

Anya Taylor-Joy: Acting Powerhouse

Anya Taylor-Joy delivers a standout performance as Thomasin, the eldest daughter of the family. She perfectly captures the character’s conflicting emotions of fear, desperation, and suspicion, as she tries to make sense of the disturbing events happening around her. The rest of the cast is also impressive, with standout performances from Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie as Thomasin’s parents.

Taylor-Joy’s breakout performance in “The Witch” demonstrated her ability to convey complex emotions and captivate audiences with her screen presence. As the film’s lead, Thomasin, she delivered a performance that was praised for its depth, vulnerability, and maturity beyond her years.

Since her breakout role in “The Witch”, Taylor-Joy has continued to impress audiences and critics alike with her performances. She has appeared in a variety of films and TV shows, showcasing her versatility as an actress. In 2016, she starred in the horror-thriller “Morgan,” followed by a supporting role in the coming-of-age drama “Thoroughbreds” in 2017.


In 2020, Taylor-Joy starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit,” which propelled her to even greater fame. Her performance in the series earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

Recently, “Last Night in Soho” as well as the critically-acclaimed “The Menu” have done nothing but continue to add propulsion to the Taylor-Joy rocket.

Overall, Anya Taylor-Joy’s career since “The Witch” has been marked by a string of impressive performances that have cemented her status as a rising star in Hollywood. Her ability to convey complex emotions and capture audiences with her screen presence has made her one of the most exciting young actresses working today.

Robert Eggers: Weird, Unique, Disturbing

The film’s director, Robert Eggers, expertly creates a sense of dread and unease throughout the film. From the haunting score to the eerie cinematography, every element of the movie works together to create a deeply unsettling atmosphere. The film also explores themes of religious fanaticism, family dynamics, and the fear of the unknown, adding depth to its already gripping narrative.

Eggers is a highly talented writer and director, known for his distinctive approach to horror filmmaking. He began his career as a designer and director for theater productions, before transitioning to filmmaking with his feature debut, “The Witch” in 2015. You can totally see the influence of theater in “The Witch” and Eggers’ subsequent work.

With “The Witch,” Eggers demonstrated his ability to create an immersive and unsettling atmosphere, drawing inspiration from both the horror genre and historical events. The film was praised for its meticulous attention to detail, from the authentic language and costumes to the eerie setting and haunting score. Eggers’ unique vision and execution earned him the Best Director prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

His follow-up film, “The Lighthouse” (2019), was another critical success, further showcasing his unique approach to filmmaking. Set in the late 19th century, the film stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two lighthouse keepers who slowly descend into madness. Like “The Witch,” “The Lighthouse” features Eggers’ signature attention to detail, including the use of black-and-white cinematography and an eerie soundscape.

The Witch, Her Looks and Her Sounds

“The Witch” is a visually stunning film, with a strikingly eerie atmosphere that is achieved through its attention to detail and haunting visuals. The film’s cinematography, done by Jarin Blaschke, features dark, muted colors that give the film a foreboding and sinister feel. The use of natural light and shadow creates a sense of unease that permeates throughout the entire film.

The film’s sound design is equally impressive, with a score composed by Mark Korven that features a combination of discordant strings and dissonant noises. The music is often used to heighten tension and to underscore the film’s more horrific moments. Additionally, the sound design incorporates elements of nature, such as the sounds of rustling leaves and howling winds, to create an immersive and unsettling experience.

The film’s attention to detail extends to its costume and set design as well. The costumes are historically accurate, with the clothing worn by the characters reflecting their status and social standing. The set design is similarly authentic, with the film’s locations and props all reflecting the historical period in which the film is set.

“The Witch” Foretold What Was To Come for Eggers and Taylor-Joy.

“The Witch” remains a powerful indicator of the immense talent and potential within both Anya Taylor-Joy and Robert Eggers, years after its release. The film launched Taylor-Joy’s career, showcasing her ability to deliver a nuanced and captivating performance in a challenging role. Since “The Witch”, Taylor-Joy has gone on to star in several critically acclaimed films, including “Split,” “Thoroughbreds,” and “Emma.” Her performance in the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” has earned her widespread acclaim, further cementing her status as one of the most exciting young actors in Hollywood.

Similarly, “The Witch” marked Robert Eggers’ directorial debut and established him as a unique and visionary filmmaker. Eggers’ attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy set him apart from other horror directors, and his ability to create a palpable sense of dread and tension has earned him comparisons to horror masters like Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. Since “The Witch,” Eggers has continued to push boundaries with his work, directing the acclaimed horror film “The Lighthouse” and the grand, visually mesmerizing Viking revenge epicThe Northman.

“The Witch” is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential for great art to emerge from talented individuals coming together to create something truly special. Its continued relevance and impact years after its release is a testament to the talent and potential of both Anya Taylor-Joy and Robert Eggers, and to the enduring power of well-crafted horror films to leave a lasting impression on audiences.

About Marcos Codas 279 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers. Like what I do? Donate a coffee:

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