My wife and I just went to see the movie The VVitch. She hated the movie, and I liked it; nothing at all new in our relationship and movie-going experience.
She absolutely hated the ending. But it seemed to me the rest of the movie had her eyes glued to the screen. I believe that if my wife had as much historical knowledge and appreciation as I possess, she would’ve loved the movie as much as I did. She is an educated woman, though not expressly in American history. Thus, if the movie had been a gunfight, she went in with unloaded pistols. If the movie would’ve been about lawyers or nurses, she would’ve been Annie Oakley and kicked a lot of ass!
Only now am I just becoming familiar with many of the superstitions believed by my Puritan ancestors; many of which were conveyed in The VVitch.
Here is a list of Puritanical attitudes, beliefs, and superstitions of which you should be aware while watching this film in order to possess a full appreciation of everything you will see within it:
- Sunday Birth: To be born on Sunday was a sign of great sin and ill omen. It implied that the child was conceived on Sunday.
- Touched by a Witch: if you were touched by a witch, you would die.
- Horses Used Against Witches: Anything related to a horse could be used against witches, since they supposedly rode on broomsticks and feared horses.
- A Bird in the House: If a bird flew into the home of a Puritan, someone who lived there would die.
- Aggressive Women: Aggressive, assertive women were likely witches.
- The Forest: The forest often possessed a sense of mystery and was therefore presumed to be the place where witches lived.
- Chess and the Fairy Queen: Women were not allowed to play chess nor read the Fairy Queen.
- The Role of Women in Puritan Society: Women were to be submissive and obedient at all times to their husbands. They were the gentler and weaker sex, and often thought at times to be inherently evil.
- The Bible in Puritan Society: The Bible was supposed to be the only influence in Puritan life. All Puritans were supposed to possess an uncompromising attitude toward divine scripture and knowledge.
- Symbolization of the Rabbit: The rabbit was often seen as the “fear caller”. It was also said that the rabbit represented fertility and new life.
- Goat Folklore in Puritanical Society: Billy goats were associated with the Devil, lust, and debauchery. Many Puritans treated them with a sense of suspicion. In England and Scotland, it was believed that goats could not be seen for a consecutive 24 hours, due to the fact they had to visit Satan once a day to have their beards combed. There exists a biblical reference about separating the goats from the sheep, symbolizing religiously the separation of the bad from the good. This should also explain some of this suspicion Puritans held toward goats.
This is just a mere sampling of some of the attitudes, beliefs, and superstitions held by this devout group of English settlers; many of these are clearly illustrated in The VVitch. Knowing about all this should clearly help you appreciate this masterfully produced horror film all the more.
The visuals in this film are astounding! The New England countryside, as depicted by Canadian forest, help to create a brooding feeling of uneasiness that is present throughout the film. Even in the trailers of the film, it is readily clear that the costume designers went above and beyond their call of duty to provide accurate representations of Puritanical fashion.
All adult and child actors and actresses in this production impressively performed their roles. Ralph Ineson superbly conveyed the depiction of a father in fear of losing control of his family to the dark forces surrounding him amid the lack of protection from the Divine God they all professed to devoutly follow. Anya Taylor – Joy did a flawless job of portraying a rebellious daughter who found herself confused by many of the tragic events that will befall her and her family.
Overall, I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.