Director Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name is currently the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, with the second half of the two-part saga arriving in theaters in 2019.

The film was an unexpected hit, comparing favorably the earlier 1990 television miniseries that famously (or perhaps infamously) cast Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown, and scaring up one of the most successful theatrical runs of all time for an R-rated film.

Subtitled A New-England Folktale, Robert Eggers’ The Witch draws on America’s Puritan heritage to craft a story that is both unsettling and refreshingly straightforward.

Although they view their new property as God-given, dissonant strings and a wailing chorus play as the camera lingers on the dark woods, the first indication that the wilderness holds evil.

From there, The Witch unfolds slowly and sadistically, as supernatural forces plague the family in increasingly awful ways.

Eggers prioritizes authenticity, with formal dialogue and period-accurate clothing and sets, each scene lit only by natural light, whether from the evening sun peeking through the trees or a candle wavering in the dark.

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