|violence toward animals||yes|
|X was the real Y||It turns out witches where the real struggles of frontier life.|
This is going to be a rehash of my Innkeepers review with a dash of Scooby Doo.
The second scene is a baby magically disappearing, so I can't be surprised. But I can still be mad about a missed opportunity.
This movie is a great psychological horror movie turned into a mediocre satanic one. Witchcraft isn't nearly as frightening as its threat.
The Witch starts with the patriarch choosing to be exiled from the colony instead of rejecting religious absolutism. We then flash forward and things are rough: winter is coming, their crop is failing, and their youngest child has gone mysteriously missing.
If that child hadn't been super-obviously magic-ed away we'd have great three-way tension: is the family's faith being tested; has one member strayed, cursing the rest in the process; or have the struggles broken the family and led them to religious paranoia?
I think the reason I'm so upset about this is that this movie was so close to being great. No dialog would need to change. A few shots would need to be re-cut to imply the supernatural without showing it.
[SPOILER] The movie's ending, with everyone dying around Thomasin and her signing her soul to the devil even could have worked. But no, it's witches.