17-year-old Ben, worried about his parents’ discord, comes to his father for the summer to spend time in nature and earn some money on the pier. A young couple with two children lives in the next house, and one day after a forest walk they bring an ancient evil with them. Ben immediately notices that something strange is happening in the neighborhood, but his father doesn’t even want to listen to him, and Mallory’s new acquaintance believes that a rational explanation can be found for everything.
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What a person cannot understand and explain frightens him the most. It has been this way since time immemorial and for the most part continues even now. That is why, peering into the impenetrable darkness, we often experience a certain inexplicable thrill and try to see something supernatural there. And the most interesting thing is that sometimes our consciousness draws completely unimaginable pictures in our imagination, from which even the most outlandish fears take on concrete, tangible outlines and thereby give rise to legends passed down from generation to generation. And in order for pure, primordial evil to become a little more understandable and not so terrible, people eventually endowed it with personified signs and thereby got a chance to overcome what causes trembling in the knees. Feeling in awe of foggy lakes, swamps and rivers, where even an adult, healthy person can disappear, people came up with a myth about mermaids, dragging everyone who accidentally falls into their possession to the bottom. When the floorboards are fastened inside the house, and objects seem to be moving from one corner of the room to another, this is often attributed to the pranks of brownies, with whom it is best to live in peace and harmony. And after all, there are countless examples of such inexplicable manifestations of the supernatural throughout the entire civilized history of mankind, but among the most terrible legends it is worth highlighting the tales of witches who made a lot of noise in the dark Middle Ages. Often, pretty and intelligent women were endowed with witchcraft properties, on whom glances full of hatred and envy fell, which is why the church sent to the next world a myriad of completely innocent people who did not deserve punishment at all. However, in any situation, there is a small chance that human fears were by no means imaginary, and witches could actually exist. That is why they have become an integral part of popular culture and, in terms of fame, are not inferior to vampires, werewolves and the same mermaids. The image of witches has repeatedly appeared in Disney cartoons, TV series and all kinds of films, and in 2015 Robert Eggers decided to transform it with an ominous naturalism, thereby creating an extraordinary artistic incident. Not everyone is ready to undertake such daring experiments, and the production brothers Brett and Drew Pearce were also not going to deconstruct the well-established idea of scary sorceresses, and nevertheless, their “First Witch” managed to prove itself quite well and properly intrigue its audience waiting for a collision with old legends in the conditions of modern times.
As for the plot of the film itself, it takes us to a small town where a guy named Ben (John-Paul Howard) moves for a while, who is not going through the best period in his life due to the fact that his parents are in serious discord and the past. the boy’s family will definitely not be. Finding himself at the disposal of his father, Ben decides to get a part-time job at a local boat pier, and at the same time meets a little cynical, but generally sweet and trusting Mallory (Piper Kurda), with whom the hero develops a friendship, and it would seem that even in a town so remote from the busy life, you can spend your everyday life well, but everything turns out to be not entirely simple. Ben notices very unusual oddities in the behavior of his neighbors and the more he observes them, the more convinced he becomes that they have become the object of the obsessive attention of some supernatural being with frankly ill intentions. Everything suggests that a witch has awakened in the town and only teenagers can influence the course of frightening events.
The mythology of witches and everything connected with them has unlimited artistic potential, which we can observe in hundreds, or even thousands of different works, which are designed to frighten a person and at the same time warn him that evil has not disappeared in the distant past. , and continues to create its intrigues even in the milestones of digital technologies and general publicity, which can easily eradicate obscurantism. After researching the most popular myths about witches, Brett and Drew Pearce decided to build a storytelling atmosphere in the best traditions of Stephen King’s cult works, where the key characters are children or adolescents who are forced to face what adults consider to be nothing more than stupidity. And we have to admit that the urban horror story with elements of old folklore succeeded at the Piers at a very decent level. At the same time, the brothers were more guided by the precepts of the old horror films that were released several decades ago, and thus created a rather remarkable work, built on nostalgic motives and the rules of children’s nightmares, which, on the one hand, are completely harmless and with mature age are perceived as a fairy tale , but on the other hand, they are very firmly rooted in the mind and even with the past years it is not so easy to get rid of them. The story is structured in such a way that the audience gets to know the characters, the scene and the disturbing motives that swept the town, but there is no talk of any slowness and too slow development of events. The creators conceived to turn their audience’s head, to make it return to the past again, in the days of childhood, when everything around seems not so simple, and the unknown was really frightening. Skillfully juggling the imagination and fantasy of the main characters, the Pearce brothers throw this infectious excitement on us, and we want to just take and find ourselves in the epicenter of events in order to deal with the original witch once and for all. And maybe there are no special philosophical revelations and deep rationality, as was the case with Robert Eggers in his “Witch”, and yet as entertainment that causes genuine interest and excitement, this story works with dignity.
The directors did a decent job on the visual part of their story, making it as attractive and attractively ominous as possible. The location chosen for filming, a remote town, spread out near water and a large forest, where the houses do not stand close to each other, and between them, the distance is visible, which does not allow you to instantly react in case of trouble, can especially please. And nevertheless, the neighbors still have the opportunity to observe you, noticing all the oddities of behavior that can seem like something sinister, non-standard and frightening. Revealing all the peculiarities of local life through passionate camera work, interesting angles and pleasant editing work, the Pearce brothers create the feeling of a true scary tale that beckons to itself, but the film was also lucky with the key cast. Young people, albeit not the most famous performers, but they managed to attract attention to themselves, play quite understandable, ordinary guys, with whom literally everyone can associate themselves. This means that any nightmares that occur in the frame will not pass by the viewer for sure.
In the end, I want to say that “The First Witch” is a very worthy spectacle, which will not be difficult to take our attention and intrigue with its rich history.
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: 4K (2160p)
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English-SRT, German-PGS, German-FORCED-PGS