Sanity and the Sea (The Lighthouse, 2019)

The_Lighthouse_PosterAs the lights went up, I overheard a guy say to his friend “I really enjoyed it, but I could not tell you what it was f*****g about.”

I honestly feel like this film should not work. It is in black and white. It is in a very uncommon aspect ration. The audio is mono.  It is just two guys being belligerent on screen for almost two hours. And yet? I was hooked in from the first few moments.

I cannot image this film being as visually striking if it had been in color.  The black and white picture creates a feel of something from another time. A story of old maritime myth and superstition.  The light and shadow perform an engaging dance as the storms (both nature and between the men) rage in front of us.

I don’t know if I can tell you what it was f******g about”…but it was quite an experience.

Into the Woods (the Witch, 2015)

the_witch_posterOpening with a family leaving their community over a difference in how to be devout Christians, this tale set in 1630 is a slow but powerful burn towards a truly horrifying end.  The family lives in a remote area, next to a deep and foreboding forest.

This film focuses on how the family, seemingly under demonic influence and attack unravel at the seams.  Is oldest daughter Thomasin truly a witch as she suggests to her younger siblings?  She later claims to have been joking, but is this just a defense to save herself?  Did the witch steal away her brother? Is the devil speaking to her through a goat?

The film takes it’s time in setting up the story and this turns out to be very effective and the Witch builds with a quiet nervousness by everything the family knows is torn down.

The Witch is one of the genre highlights of last year.  It is not really a film for gore hounds, but if you appreciate psychological frights, this is a most effective film.  Director Robert Eggers shows much promise with his first feature film.

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