As February theatrical release of The Witch edges closer, A24 has cut a tight, dread-laced new trailer with an eye for showing off the “R” rated films exceptional production design and commitment to period storytelling. It is disturbing in the same way old photos can be disturbing. When you consider the period language of America in the 17th Century, the off-kilter dynamics of a family being crushed under the anxiety of superstitions and isolation in the New World, and director Robert Egger’s particular knack for shooting animal husbandry in the creepiest way possible – all of these things key strengths of the actual film – you’ve got an exceptional piece of honest marketing.
New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest – within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately – animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.