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The Witch

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Witch Movie Poster Image
Intense, fascinating Puritan horror tale has blood and gore.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 92 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Subtly asks viewers to wonder whether believing in something is good or bad, and offers complex ideas about belief and tolerance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No clearly positive role models, though Thomasin is complex and interesting, showing her own brand of strength and free thought within the confines of her time period and the story.


Frequent blood and gore. Characters die, including children. Slicing with a blade. Suggestions of a kidnapped baby being ground up by witches. A crow pecks at a woman's breast. Brief guns and shooting; a gun backfires. Bloody chicken fetus on the ground. Animals sliced open. Girl thrown from horse. Man gored by a goat.


Brief nonsexual full-frontal female nudity. Naked witches' breasts and bottoms. Boy ogles his older sister's cleavage; he's later seen naked, but nothing sensitive is shown.


"Hell" and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Witch, while fascinating, is very intense and has quite a bit of blood and gore. Guns and blades are briefly shown, and characters and animals are harmed and killed. A crow pecks at a woman's breast, a goat gores a man, a bloody chicken fetus is shown, and a girl is thrown from a horse. A baby is kidnapped, and it's implied that witches have ground him up. There's also full-frontal female nudity (nonsexual in nature), and witches' bare breasts and bottoms are seen. A pre-teen boy ogles his sister's cleavage. The same boy appears naked, but nothing sensitive is shown. Swearing is limited to "damn" and "hell." While the movie's slow, thoughtful nature may turn off some gorehounds, it could actually help it appeal to more thoughtful audiences as well.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySirAcid March 3, 2016

Intelligent and Disturbing

I find it unfortunate that some are calling this film lacking in fright, and even boring. That's the typical opinion of a truly thought-provoking, challeng... Continue reading
Adult Written byDanielS 5 February 23, 2016

Very bad

This is the worse movie i have ever went to movies and seen..im trying to figure out where theres alot of blood..this movie wasnt even scary.showed the witch 1... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFortePiano February 20, 2016

Absolutely Loved It, but your teen might not?

The Witch isn't a movie full of cheap jumpscares and the same old soundtracks. It's genuinely a creepy experience. I went with my friends to see it ye... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebo344 April 19, 2016

2016's best...

The Witch is perfection. I loved Zootopia, 10 Cloverfield Lane and Deadpool, but this is my favorite film of 2016 by far. The acting is excellent but Harvey Scr... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 17th-century New England, a Puritan family is banished from a settlement for holding religious beliefs that differ from the majority's. Setting up their own farm in an isolated area near a spooky woods, the family struggles with not having enough food for the winter. One day, eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is looking after the baby when it suddenly disappears. Then other mysterious, terrible things start happening, sending the fearful family into panic. Thomasin's mother (Kate Dickie) and father (Ralph Ineson) begin to grow suspicious of their children, especially after Thomasin is caught playing "witch" games with her younger brother and sister. Is there really an evil witch in the woods, and what's happening to the family?

Is it any good?

This exceptionally intelligent, atmospheric horror movie more closely recalls Ingmar Bergman than Wes Craven, as it centers on human foibles as well as dealing with a hint of the supernatural. In his feature debut, director Robert Eggers goes the extra mile to create authentic-sounding dialogue for the early 17th century, as well as costumes and sets, not to mention behaviors and beliefs. Even Mark Korven's eerie music sounds like something from another time or world.

Weirdly, THE WITCH isn't quite as flat-out scary as it might seem, despite the shocking "peek a boo" moment heavily used to promote it. It's more fascinating and transporting as we navigate this seemingly primitive world that truly believes in witches. Eggers refrains from any kind of modern commentary as the movie immerses us in a gloomy, harsh existence, challenging us to find parallels -- and trace pathways -- to our current life. Primal and challenging, it could someday stand with the horror classics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Witch's violence and gore. How much is shown, and in what context? What effect does it have? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? What makes something scary? How does this one compare with other horror movies you've seen?

  • In this movie, is religious faith portrayed as a good thing, a bad thing, or both? What about belief in witches?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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