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Loud music a horror picture doth not maketh.

The 2015 film The Witch: A New-England Folktale is the directorial debut of production and costume designer Robert Eggers. He said it was inspired, at least in part, by his growing up in New England and being surrounded by the stories of witchcraft in colonial times.

The film was billed as horror, which probably does it a disservice. More aptly, it is an exploration of the early stories of witchcraft in the Plymouth Plantation, 62 years before the Salem Witch trials. The production boasts extensive research into the historicity, including costume and sets. As the film explains at the end, much of the dialog is taken from historical records including letters and legal proceedings.

I really don’t like the the substitution of shockingly-loud sound and music for actual frightening storytelling. Once it occurred to me that, perhaps, the film isn’t supposed to be scary, I became a little more generous in its evaluation. I have to say though – some of the music is really, really loud; especially when I’m straining to get the dialog from the accented English.

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