Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Good Story 144: The Witch

Julie and Scott head out to live in the woods because, frankly, everyone else is just doing it wrong. Sure, they'll miss butter and glass windows and apples, but they'll have more pointy sticks than anyone has ever had. And a witch. Or two. The Witch (2015) is the subject of Episode 144.

Download or listen via this link: |Episode #144|

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Some links:
  • Beware the Online Culture of Wrath by Steven D. Greydanus
  • Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, read by Julie!
  • And Rappaccini's Daughter, also by Nathaniel Hawthorne, also read by Julie! Part 1, Part 2


    1. I guess I was rather surprised to find this movie show up.

      Still all my problems with the movie were addressed nicely. It was very well made technically with good performances all around. But as mentioned it was all sin and no redemption. Still I could have dealt with that if I had more context and It was a failure of storytelling. If you were well versed in Puritanism so much more would have had that necessary context. Still I can see that as a difficult problem expository-wise.

      My daughter is a big horror fan, but didn't care for this one either. Still I could imagine watching it again after getting more background information.

      Oh and to key off something Scott mentioned. In most places where there were witch trials the large majority of those accused were women, in rarer cases the majority were men. The accusers were also largely women. I have heard some say witch hunts were more prevalent in Protestant countries over Catholic ones. Unfortunately this is not true and here is an excellent article on the actually history. http://catholicexchange.com/who-burned-the-witches

      Or as for Tucker and Dale, I so loved that. Have either of you seen "John Dies at the End"? Also pretty funny and I think I watched these two back-to-back.

      1. I didn't realize that about the accusers usually being women. However, Rodney Stark in his book Bearing False Witness does say that Catholics usually thoroughly investigated witchcraft accusations and rarely burned them. His book came out this year and he is both non-Catholic and a noted historian (his sources are thorough). I was surprised to read that but, of course, pleased. It's a book you'd probably like, witchcraft burnings aside.

        I haven't seen John Dies at the End. But now I'm going to go look for it! So glad you liked the conversation!

    2. I lean more toward Scott's attitude about the movie. I admire it to a certain extent though I don't know who I'd recommend it to. Like Jeff, I'm a little curious to watch it again with more background to it.

      Even though I was surprised with Thomasin's choice at the end, I did like the fact that Black Philip (aka Satan, Father of lies) goes back on his promise of a delicious life immediately--there's no taste of butter or fancy dresses in that last shot. While there's no hope there, at least it shows the wrongness of her choice. Her misplaced hope for something better is definitely in the wrong spot.

    3. *SPOILERS*

      I enjoyed the film, but that enjoyment was definitely tempered by the victory of evil over good at the end. I like to think of The Witch as a sort of Shakespearean tragedy. I do contend that there was one moment of redemption at Caleb's death scene. It was horrific and disturbing, but it's beauty strikes me most of all. I don't know if Caleb was supposed to be possessed or bewitched in some manner, and theologically I hold the position that a Christian can not be possessed. However, I'll take the filmmaker on his own terms for the sake of the story. It was an enthralling picture of spiritual warfare, as apparently Jesus and Satan battled it out for Caleb's soul. And while some may think this battle was lost because he died, I saw victory displayed as his soul was delivered by Jesus and taken to eternal rest. It's the only real triumph I see of good over evil in the film. And it also brings me to the thought that yes- Satan won the battle in this film, but we know and can take comfort that God will win the war in the end. This was a tough watch, but a film I plan on seeing again in the future.

      And what's up with so many amazing performances by child actors nowadays? I look back on the past and mostly see lines being shouted as acting by kids, but I have seen some great work going back to The Sixth Sense and so much else. Harvey Scrimshaw did an awesome job as Caleb, and those twins were convincingly despicable. Anya Taylor-Joy was perhaps too old to be considered a child actor, but she was great, too.