The Witch

Director: (2016)

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.