THE WITCH (stylized as The VVitch for some reason) broke out of Sundance last year on everyone’s minds. First time director, Robert Eggers, even took home the coveted Best Director award, something unprecedented for a debut filmmaker. And now the genre-defining horror film has made its way to a wider audience with mixed reactions. I guess I’m just not really sure what people were expecting, because to me, this was the best horror film in a decade.

The Witch is set in in 1630s New England, following the plight of a puritan family leaving the safety of their village to build a home out in the unexplored wilderness. Unfortunately, they decide to settle in the midst of black magic, where they are harassed and possessed by a witch. This isn’t any ordinary witch and it certainly isn’t like any witch you’ve seen in cinema for quite some time. This old hag is horrifying, and the film does not take long to let that sink in. The tragedies this family goes through throughout the course of the film really make me thankful that I live in a post-Salem Witch Trial world.

I think the main reason general audiences weren’t raving over the movie to the extent that festival audiences were is that the horror genre has been so diluted by meaningless characters and jump scares that anything with atmospheric terror is labeled as “slow” and “boring”. There are no jump scares in the witch. It isn’t gory and no one is tortured. It feels like the characters in the film would react exactly as the people might have in those times. The movie just feels real, which makes it even scarier. Part of the reason it feels this way is because the story was developed through an extensive amount of research on New England folk tales and stories. It’s a true adaptation of what the puritans would have written and told their children. Another reason is that the film was shot with very little artificial lighting. The night/interior scenes are lit with candles and the night/exterior scenes have an excusable amount of artificial moonlight. As THE REVENANT proved, staying away from Hollywood-like lighting can lend an unbelievable level of authenticity to a production.

The most important thing a horror film (or any movie) needs to get right is the characters. They don’t have to be relatable, likable, or attractive, they simply have to be motivated. Too often do we see characters walking into haunted houses for no reason or deciding to risk their lives because that’s the only way to move the story forward. The Witch refuses to follow these tropes. It presents characters that have personalities, goals, and weaknesses. Not a single member of the family falls into a typical stereotype, so we’re always chasing them, trying to figure out how they’re going to react to the situations they find themselves in. This is what makes the film great. Sure it would probably be scary if tortoises played the leading roles, but when you grow attached to a character or even despise one, you’re connecting with them. You want them to succeed. You want them to get eaten by an old witch. Either way, you’re not passive.

Movies like this simply need more traction in the theater. As an avid horror lover, it pains me to see bomb after bomb from the studios. They’re not trying anymore. All I can say is that it’s incredibly refreshing to see such talent from a debut director who is already taking the helm of a new NOSFERATU remake. I can’t imagine anything better suited for this individual. The Witch is in the same league as THE BABADOOK was last year. Casual viewers can’t understand the hype, but true fans see that there’s something more, something new. The genre needs an uplift and Robert Eggers, Jennifer Kent, and David Robert Mitchell may be the ones to bring horror out of its recession (though, I can’t honestly say I enjoyed IT FOLLOWS).


4 out of 5 Stars


THE WITCH – Dir. Robert Eggers

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw


Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes

Wes Craven, a master of horror cinema and the king of the slasher genre best known for creating the Freddy Krueger and “Scream” franchises, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 76. Wes lost a long battle with brain cancer, according to a statement from his family.  IMDB

Mr. Craven’s most famous villain was Freddy Krueger, who haunted the nightmares of high school students in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” series and became one of the top killers in horror movie history.  His other horror film achievements include “The Hills Have Eyes,” “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” “The People Under the Stairs”, and most notably “Scream.”  Scream was inspired by his love for the movie“Halloween,” and went on to spawn three sequels.

Wesley Earl Craven was born Aug. 2, 1939, in Cleveland to Paul and Caroline Craven.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton and a master’s in philosophy from John Hopkins University and was a professor in Pennsylvania and New York for a short time.  But his biggest achievement was bringing his creativity and horror mastery to the big screen.  He was once quoted in saying “Horror movies have to show us something that hasn’t been shown before so that the audience is completely taken aback. You see, it’s not just that people want to be scared; people are scared.”

Welcome to the third installment of What to Stream Right Now! If you’ve been keeping up with us so far, you’ve seen some pretty great movies and TV shows. We have even more to share with you today, but make sure to check out Ep. 1 and Ep. 2 to catch up and slack off!

THE EXORCIST – Dir. William Friedkin (1973)

Everyone seems to love complaining about horror movies these days, and quite frankly, I can’t blame them. There’s no magic or genuinely frightening moments anymore, just loud sound effects and gore. That’s why I’m recommending to you an old, but undated and horrifying film, THE EXORCIST. You’ve probably seen one of the multitudes of sequels/spin-offs inspired by this classic, but if you haven’t seen the original, you’re really missing out. Actually, I should rephrase that: If you’re a fan of horror films and you haven’t seen the original Exorcist, you’re really missing out. This is not a movie for weak stomachs. That’s not to say it’s a gore-fest like you we’re used to now, it’s simply disturbing. It also tells a great story by interweaving characters that we actually care about and want to prevail!

And maybe I’m in the minority in thinking that it’s an actual horror film, but do yourself a favor and read about the audience reactions when the film first hit theaters. People actually fainted from being so scared. I was convinced that only happened in movies! …Not at the theater.  IMDB


BOB’S BURGERS – Four Seasons (2011- )
Unfortunately, BOB’S BURGERS is also not a show for everyone. But it’s a light-hearted cartoon and I figured you could use something fun to ease your mood after watching The Exorcist.

The show is about a dad (named Bob), who owns and runs a burger joint (named Bob’s Burgers) with his family. He has a kind, but mildly annoying wife, two polar opposite daughters, and a son who takes far too much after himself. It’s a quirky, odd, comedy that many claim is reminiscent of early THE SPIMPSONS episodes. Essentially, the show revolves around a middle-class family dealing with common struggles while adding in some bizarre and outlandish elements. The comedy is off beat, but relatable and the characters are instantly loveable with their strange characterizations and phenomenal voice work. Since there are only 4 seasons available on Netflix, (six seasons in all) and the show is still being produced, there’s plenty to enjoy but even more to look forward to.  IMDB