“There’s evil in the wood”

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As it’s a dark rainy evening, I thought I’d watch a super scary horror film on my own. Tonight I’m reviewing The Witch, which came out in 2015 and soon to be released on DVD.

The Details:

  • Written and directed by Robert Eggers
  • Genre: mystical, period, horror
  • Running time: 93 minutes
  • Rating: R

The Plot:

In the 1630’s, New England was torn apart by fears of witchcraft. A family is exiled from their village and have to make a life for themselves in the wild. They struggle to grow enough food to support themselves which begins to split the family and things go further downhill when the youngest child Sammy goes missing. From there dark and spooky things occur.

The Acting

I didn’t know any of the actors which is quite refreshing as I wasn’t comparing the actors to previous roles.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Thomasin, the eldest child in the family. I really enjoyed her performance; sometimes people go too hammy and OTT in horror, but Anya’s portrayal is just right. Her accent is excellent and she ranges from the subtlest hints of emotion to fully fledged outbursts. A really talented actress and I hope she goes far!

Ralph Ineson plays William the father of the family. Ineson portrays a very gruff and moody character who is desperately holding onto his faith whilst his world falls apart. He really makes the role believable and was my favourite actor within the film.

Kate Dickie plays Katherine, the mother of the family and brings the hysterical element to the film and left me with chills after some scenes. Also Harvey Scrimshaw who plays young Caleb is also a really memorable performance.

The Soundtrack

I loved the soundtrack to this film. It’s really haunting through the use of discordant choral singing and strings. It really heightened the sense of fear and the unknown. So many small sound effects are also used in the film and the simplicity of them creates so much tension – I love it!

The Production

I thought the production of this film was ace. It was really interestingly shot with such good use of lighting. The editing was spot on, the tension and fear is created by slow reveals and giveaways which was done expertly!

The Review

I did really enjoy this film. It’s vibe  is a bit like The Crucible, with the spread of hysteria and fear about witches. But in this film there is actual cause for fear which adds to their hysteria. It’s also like A Field in England too as it’s eerie and freaky. Quite a few times I jumped really badly and did genuinely feel on edge throughout. But, I felt that the narrative wasn’t quite explained fully, we saw glimpses of the antagonist but were never given an explanation about them. This could have been the filmmakers intention –  to keep things ambiguous, but I felt that it was slightly too ambiguous.

I’d rate the film a 6/10, a fairly good horror film that’s made really well but needs more elaboration on the plot!

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“Just live well. Just live.”

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HAAAAIIII. Today I’m reviewing Me Before You, written by Jojo Moyes and directed by Thea Sharrock. It stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Caflin and Matthew Lewis.

The film was released on June 3rd and has a running time of 110 minutes.

The Plot

Lou Clark (Clarke) is a waitress in her 20’s living in a small town. unfortunately the cafe where she works is closing down, therefore she has to find a new job to help her family who are struggling financially. As a last ditch attempt, she takes a six month carer/nursing job, completely unaware of what she’s getting into.

Her job is to act as a friend to Will Traynor (Caflin) who is paralyzed from the neck down after a traffic accident. Their relationship doesn’t get off to a good start and it’s awkward but their friendship starts to bloom as various things happen. After learning that Will wants to take his own life, Lou embarks on a mission to make him change his mind as she develops feelings for him.  It is a sweet and potentially moving story that tackles the effects of drastic changes in ones life.

The Acting

Emilia Clarke creates a very bubbly, quirky characterization of Lou, some traits very similar to her own personality. Her character is likable and kind but I didn’t quite believe in it 100% of the time. One thing that bugged me was her accent – for most of the film she is well spoken and proper, but the odd word has a more common accent and it just doesn’t work. It just distracts you from what’s going on. I wouldn’t say it’s a show-stopping performance but she’s good for the role.

Sam Caflin plays a shut-off character who doesn’t want anyone’s help. He brings some of the funnier parts to the film as he’s quite witty. Then his character grows, he shows more emotion and gives more of a range of acting. I’d say he’s better than Clarke in this and has more of a challenging role which he does well.

Matthew Lewis to me was quite a pointless character, sounds harsh but the narrative could have done without it. He plays Pat, Lou’s boyfriend. He’s a personal trainer who is constantly letting Lou down etc. It’s just a boring and annoying role from the audience’s perspective. This isn’t a dig at Matt at all as he played the role well. I just thought it was bad writing.

Production

The film was shot and edited nicely, all of the shots were clean and interesting. I couldn’t fault that. The soundtrack was good and worked well with the feel of the film … it features a lot of Ed Sheeran though but not complaining.

The Review

I thought the plot of this film had so much potential and I was expecting more from it. It’s a really sweet story but the dialogue and direction lets it down. There are so many cliche moments that just made me cringe! some scenarios are too stereo-typical and there wasn’t much “thinking outside of the box” in the writing process. This just got on my nerves after a while because it could have been so good!

Then some of the direction wasn’t too great either, there are moments where actions/lines could have been done in a different or better way. I don’t know if I’ve just become bitter and cold-hearted but I just felt let down by this film. The poor dialogue and direction detracts from a powerful and controversial (in parts) narrative. Everything about it was just ‘alright’… the acting wasn’t amazing, the dialogue was too literal and cheesy and the narrative could have been amazing but wasn’t! Over all I’d give Me Before You a 6.5/10. It is worth a watch but just don’t expect an Oscar worthy film!