This assured horror story is a devil’s brew of possession, seduction, flesh pecking gore and creeping menace.
Actors are exposed in the harsh rustic environ, there’s a calm eye for period detail and top marks go to the animal wrangler for harnessing hares, ravens, horses and a black goat to the madness.
Ralph Ineson gives one of many impassioned performances as William, a devout, dirt poor farmer in 17th century New England.
A mostly English cast are encourage to flaunt their native northern accents.
Samuel the baby is snatched, a silver chalice goes missing and the crops start dying.
Anya Taylor-Joy is excellent as William’s eldest daughter Thomasin who suffers the blame and the backlash.
Her burgeoning sexuality is a threat to power of male dominated, city based established church, a theme explored through symbolism as events unfold.
‘Thou’s and ‘thee’s scratch through the script as a screeching score soars over a torrent of confessions and accusation.
Mixing traditional fairytale tropes and contemporary accounts of witchcraft, it makes a virtue of an unsettling mood rather than relying on the vices of cheap scares.