Anya Taylor-Joy (Thomasin) in a scene from "The Witch."
Rafy/A24 via AP
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Set under gray Puritan skies in a deathly autumn, "The Witch" is a slow-burning 1600s horror thriller so bone-dry it would only take a match for the whole movie to go up in flames. Writer-director Robert Eggers' impressive feature debut doesn't just take place in early 17th-century America: it has effectively summoned the nightmares and superstitions of the era, much of which Eggers faithfully reproduced from various historical sources. The subject here is less witches as such than the Puritan psychology that dreamed them up. That night, after frantic searching, an image flickers of a witch-like figure floating toward a full moon.What makes "The Witch" more than a mere museum reclamation project is Taylor-Joy.
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