A24 Films has released the first trailer and poster for writer/director Robert Eggers’ intensely unnerving feature debut The Witch. Aptly described as a New England folktale, the film takes place in the year 1630, a generation before the Salem witch trials, and revolves around a small family that has been excommunicated from its plantation due to father William’s outspoken objections to what he sees as the community’s lax religious principles. But when he moves his family to a remote cabin near the foreboding woods, an unspeakable horror creeps in, leaving their lives forever changed. This trailer is not only an excellent signifier of what kind of experience you’re in for with The Witch, it’s also just a damn good teaser trailer; it entices rather than reveals.
I saw The Witch on a whim at Sundance earlier this year because I like 17th century American history and thought it sounded neat. I ended up staring at the floor for brief parts of the film for fear of what was happening on the screen, on edge all the way through the movie’s closing credits. It’s a masterfully executed horror film that relies on dread and atmosphere for effect over jump scares or deep mythology—and it’s all the better for it. I was genuinely shaken up by this thing, and I can’t wait to see it again. Eggers is a serious talent to watch (he took home Best Director at Sundance), and it’s no surprise he’s already attached to helm a new take on the horror classic Nosferatu.
Check out the first trailer and poster for The Witch below, via A24, and click here to read my full review from the Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Katie Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, and Ellie Grainger and opens in theaters sometime in 2016.