Eerie Cinematic Gems for Lovers of Movies Like "The Witch"

By Published On: July 10, 2024Last Updated: July 9, 20242780 words14 min read

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movies like the witch

“The Witch” (2015) has carved its place in supernatural horror, renowned for its chilling atmosphere and meticulous portrayal of 17th-century New England. Director Robert Eggers’ debut masterpiece immersed audiences in a world where folklore and fear converge, setting a benchmark for psychological terror.

Venture beyond the eerie woods of “The Witch” into these 10 folk horror films that explore themes of isolation, superstition, and the uncanny. For those intrigued by dark enchantments and haunting landscapes, these movies promise to evoke the unsettling blend of dread and fascination that cemented “The Witch” as a modern classic.

A Dark Song (2016)

A grieving mother, Sophia, hires an occultist, Joseph Solomon, to perform a grueling ritual in a remote Welsh mansion. The ritual aims to contact her deceased son, blurring the line between redemption and damnation. As they delve deeper into the arcane rites over several months, tensions rise as trust and sanity unravel in the isolated house’s shadowy confines.

Witness the intricate unraveling of secrets and supernatural forces in a hauntingly atmospheric setting, where every ritual has unforeseen consequences. The film’s slow-burn tension and psychological depth draw viewers into Sophia and Solomon’s increasingly fraught relationship, highlighting themes of grief, obsession, and the blurred boundaries between spiritual salvation and personal damnation.

The Wicker Man (1973)

Sergeant Neil Howie, a devout Christian policeman, travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Upon arriving, he discovers a community living under the rule of Lord Summerisle, where pagan rituals and traditions are deeply rooted. As Howie delves deeper into his investigation, he uncovers a disturbing web of secrets and lies, leading to a shocking revelation that challenges his beliefs and sanity.

Immerse yourself in a tale where ancient beliefs clash with modern skepticism as Sergeant Howie navigates the idyllic yet sinister community of Summerisle. The film’s haunting folk music, picturesque landscapes, and unsettling atmosphere gradually build tension, culminating in a chilling climax that remains a benchmark for psychological horror and narrative subversion in cinema.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Father and son coroners Tommy and Austin Tilden receive the body of an unidentified young woman, Jane Doe, with no apparent cause of death. As they begin the autopsy, they uncover increasingly bizarre and terrifying anomalies that defy medical explanation. The deeper they delve into Jane Doe’s mysterious corpse, the more they uncover unsettling secrets that threaten their sanity and safety within the confines of their mortuary.

Explore the chilling depths of terror within the sterile environment of the Tilden mortuary, where each incision reveals not only physical abnormalities but also a disturbing narrative shrouded in supernatural mystery. Director André Øvredal meticulously crafts an atmosphere of claustrophobic dread, using the mortuary’s dimly lit rooms and the eerie silence punctuated by unsettling occurrences to intensify the sense of unease. As the Tildens unravel Jane Doe’s secrets, the film challenges viewers with its blend of psychological horror and supernatural elements, culminating in a shocking and haunting conclusion long after the credits roll.

It Comes at Night (2017)

In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by an unnamed disease, a family led by Paul (played by Joel Edgerton) struggles to survive in isolation within their fortified home in the woods. When they encounter another desperate family seeking refuge, tensions rise as trust becomes a fragile commodity in the face of an unseen terror lurking in the darkness outside their secure walls. As paranoia mounts and survival instincts clash, the line between real threats and imagined dangers blurs, pushing each character to the brink of moral and psychological breakdown.

Experience the harrowing descent into uncertainty and fear as director Trey Edward Shults crafts a tense and atmospheric narrative that explores the fragile nature of human trust and the devastating consequences of paranoia in a world stripped of civilization. The film’s minimalist approach enhances its psychological impact, focusing on the psychological unraveling of characters and the moral dilemmas they face. Through masterful use of cinematography and sound design, “It Comes at Night” creates an oppressive atmosphere that keeps viewers on edge, questioning the true nature of the threat and the boundaries of human morality in extreme circumstances. As the narrative unfolds, it challenges viewers to confront their own fears and assumptions about survival, leaving a haunting impression that lingers long after the film concludes.

Hereditary (2018)

“Hereditary” delves into the lives of the Graham family, who are haunted by tragic and disturbing events following the death of their secretive grandmother. As Annie (played by Toni Collette), the mother, unravels terrifying ancestral secrets, the family becomes ensnared in a sinister web of fate, grief, and supernatural forces. Each family member grapples with their demons, leading to a harrowing exploration of inherited trauma and the destructive power of familial legacies.

Witness the psychological unraveling and visceral horror in Ari Aster’s debut feature, where every scene is meticulously crafted to build tension and unease. The film masterfully blends psychological terror with supernatural elements, creating an atmosphere of dread that permeates every frame. Toni Collette’s powerhouse performance anchors the film, portraying a mother teetering on the edge of sanity as she confronts the horrifying truth about her lineage. From unsettling visuals to heart-pounding sequences, “Hereditary” delivers a visceral experience that challenges conventional horror tropes, leaving audiences stunned and haunted by its profound exploration of grief, guilt, and the inescapable ties that bind.

The film’s attention to detail extends to its intricate set designs and symbolism, enriching the narrative with hidden meanings and foreshadowing. Aster’s direction ensures that every scare is earned through a slow-burn approach, intensifying the impact of each shocking revelation. The unsettling score by Colin Stetson heightens the atmosphere of dread, while the cinematography captures the eerie stillness of the Graham family’s isolated world. “Hereditary” is not just a horror film; it mediates the complexities of familial relationships and the haunting legacy of unresolved trauma that transcends conventional genre boundaries.

The Wailing (2016)

“The Wailing” takes place in a secluded rural village in South Korea, where a series of gruesome murders and a mysterious illness befall the inhabitants. A bumbling police officer, Jong-goo, played by Kwak Do-won, finds himself embroiled in sinister events after his daughter falls victim to the illness. As he investigates, he encounters a shaman, a Japanese stranger, and ancient rituals hinting at a supernatural presence feeding fear and despair. The film weaves a complex narrative where folklore and reality blur, leading Jong-goo deeper into a nightmarish descent.

Navigate the murky waters of superstition and terror in Na Hong-jin’s “The Wailing,” where every revelation casts doubt on what is real and imagined. The film is renowned for its slow-burn tension and unflinching exploration of human frailty in the face of inexplicable evil. Kwak Do-won’s performance as Jong-goo anchors the story, capturing the desperation and confusion of a man torn between skepticism and belief as he confronts forces beyond comprehension.

“The Wailing” stands out not only for its chilling atmosphere and suspenseful storytelling but also for its deep cultural roots. Director Na Hong-jin meticulously researched Korean folklore and shamanistic practices to imbue the film with authenticity and depth. Each character, from the enigmatic Japanese stranger to the conflicted shaman, embodies layers of symbolism and moral ambiguity, challenging viewers to question their perceptions of good and evil.

The film’s cinematography by Hong Kyung-pyo captures the eerie beauty of the rural landscape, enhancing the sense of isolation and dread that permeates every scene. The sound design further intensifies the atmosphere, with haunting echoes and unsettling sounds that heighten the tension. “The Wailing” is a tour de force of psychological horror that leaves a lasting impression, inviting audiences to grapple with themes of guilt, redemption, and the unseen forces that shape human destiny.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

“Rosemary’s Baby” follows Rosemary Woodhouse, played by Mia Farrow, and her husband Guy, portrayed by John Cassavetes, as they move into an old Gothic apartment building in New York City. The couple’s life takes a dark turn when Rosemary becomes pregnant under mysterious circumstances and begins to suspect that her neighbors, particularly the eccentric and intrusive Minnie and Roman Castevet, played by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, are involved in a sinister conspiracy surrounding her unborn child. As Rosemary’s pregnancy progresses, she becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid, unsure of whom she can trust.

Enter a world where paranoia and maternal terror intertwine in Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby.” Mia Farrow’s portrayal of Rosemary captures vulnerability and determination as she navigates the unsettling realization that her pregnancy is not what it seems. The film’s slow-building suspense and psychological tension culminate in a chilling climax that has become iconic in horror cinema.

“Rosemary’s Baby” is not just a tale of supernatural horror; it is a commentary on societal anxieties of the 1960s, particularly regarding women’s autonomy and the fear of invasive influences on family life. Director Roman Polanski masterfully blends psychological thriller elements with occult horror, creating an atmosphere of claustrophobia and unease that mirrors Rosemary’s growing sense of entrapment.

The film’s setting in a Gothic-style apartment building, the Bramford, adds to its eerie atmosphere, with its labyrinthine corridors and shadowy interiors heightening the sense of isolation and dread. Polanski’s meticulous attention to detail, from the eerie lullaby-like score by Krzysztof Komeda to symbolic imagery such as the infamous tannis root pendant, enriches the narrative with layers of meaning and suspense.

“Rosemary’s Baby” challenges viewers to confront themes of trust, manipulation, and the sacrifices individuals may make to pursue power and prestige. The film’s legacy extends beyond its initial release, influencing generations of horror filmmakers and solidifying its place as a classic in the genre.

Suspiria (2018)

Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” reimagines Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic. Set in 1977 Berlin, the film follows Susie Bannion, portrayed by Dakota Johnson, a young American dancer who joins a prestigious dance academy. As Susie rises through the ranks, she uncovers the academy’s dark and sinister secrets, including its ties to witchcraft and occult rituals. The film explores themes of power, manipulation, and the intersection of art with the supernatural.

Surrender to a visual and visceral feast of horror and surrealism in “Suspiria.” Luca Guadagnino’s direction amplifies the film’s intensity, creating an atmosphere where every dance step hides a sinister agenda. Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Susie captures innocence and transformation as she becomes entangled in the academy’s nightmarish web.

“Suspiria” distinguishes itself through its visual and auditory elements. Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom and production designer Inbal Weinberg collaborate to create a hauntingly beautiful yet unsettling aesthetic. The film’s color palette shifts from vibrant and saturated hues to deep, foreboding tones, enhancing the contrast between the academy’s facade of elegance and its underlying darkness.

Thom Yorke’s haunting score adds another layer of depth, evoking a sense of unease and impending doom throughout the film. With its ethereal vocals and haunting melodies, the music complements the narrative’s descent into supernatural horror and psychological intrigue.

Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” also delves deeper into the lives and motivations of its characters, offering a nuanced exploration of female power dynamics and the consequences of unchecked ambition. Tilda Swinton’s dual role, including her portrayal of the enigmatic Madame Blanc, adds complexity to the story, blurring the lines between mentorship and manipulation.

The film’s climax is a culmination of tension and revelation, where the boundaries between reality and nightmare blur, leaving viewers unsettled and questioning the true nature of the academy and its inhabitants. “Suspiria” challenges conventional horror tropes while paying homage to its predecessor, creating an immersive experience that resonates long after the credits roll.

The House of the Devil (2009)

Directed by Ti West, “The House of the Devil” is an homage to 1980s horror films. The story follows college student Samantha Hughes, portrayed by Jocelin Donahue, who takes a babysitting job in a remote mansion. As the night unfolds, Samantha discovers that her employers have sinister intentions, leading her into a nightmarish ritual involving occult practices.

“The House of the Devil” stands out for its meticulous attention to 1980s horror aesthetics. Director Ti West pays homage to the genre with deliberate pacing, building suspense that culminates in a crescendo of occult terror. The film’s setting in a secluded mansion adds to the atmosphere of isolation and dread, echoing classic horror tropes while offering a fresh perspective.

Ti West’s direction emphasizes atmospheric tension and slow-burn suspense, reminiscent of horror classics like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist.” The cinematography by Eliot Rockett captures the eerie ambiance of the mansion, with dimly lit corridors and shadowy rooms that amplify the sense of foreboding.

The film’s soundtrack, featuring 1980s rock and synth-pop, enhances the retro atmosphere and underscores the escalating tension as Samantha uncovers the mansion’s dark secrets. Each sound and musical cue contributes to the unease, drawing viewers deeper into the protagonist’s escalating terror.

Jocelin Donahue’s portrayal of Samantha anchors the narrative, conveying vulnerability and determination as she navigates the terrifying ordeal. Her character’s journey from initial skepticism to chilling realization adds emotional depth to the story, inviting viewers to empathize with her plight.

“The House of the Devil” is not just a homage to 1980s horror but also a commentary on the allure of the occult and the dangers of curiosity. It explores themes of deception and manipulation, challenging viewers to question appearances and trust their instincts in the face of supernatural threats.

The film’s climax delivers a visceral punch, blending suspense with visceral horror as Samantha confronts the full extent of the mansion’s horrors. Ti West’s narrative choices and attention to detail create a haunting experience that lingers in the mind, making “The House of the Devil” a standout in modern horror cinema.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

Directed by Oz Perkins, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” weaves a chilling tale of isolation and supernatural horror. The film follows two girls, Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), who are left behind at their boarding school during winter break. As they face the desolate setting and the encroaching cold, they begin to experience disturbing events that hint at a malevolent presence within the school.

Feel the pervasive chill of dread in a tale where isolation breeds malevolent forces lurking in the shadows. The film masterfully creates an atmosphere of unease, using the eerie quiet of the empty school and the encroaching winter to heighten the sense of impending doom.

Oz Perkins’ direction brings a slow-burn intensity to “The Blackcoat’s Daughter,” favoring psychological tension over overt scares. The film’s pacing allows for a gradual build-up of fear, drawing viewers into the characters’ growing paranoia and sense of doom. The stark, wintry setting of the boarding school amplifies the feeling of isolation, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that permeates the film.

The performances by Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton are integral to the film’s impact. Shipka’s portrayal of Kat is particularly haunting, as she oscillates between vulnerability and a creeping sense of something sinister. Boynton’s Rose, meanwhile, provides a counterbalance with her more grounded yet increasingly unsettled demeanor. Their interactions and individual arcs deepen the narrative, making the supernatural elements all the more terrifying.

Another standout element is Elvis Perkins’s score. It blends haunting melodies with unsettling dissonance to underscore the film’s tension. The music becomes omnipresent, guiding viewers through the eerie narrative landscape and enhancing the sense of dread.

“The Blackcoat’s Daughter” also delves into themes of abandonment and the unknown, exploring how isolation can lead to vulnerability and unexpected strength. The supernatural elements are woven seamlessly with the psychological horror, blurring the lines between reality and nightmare. The film’s fragmented narrative structure, which reveals key details non-linearly, adds to disorientation and suspense.

In addition to its chilling atmosphere and strong performances, the film is noted for its striking visual style. Cinematographer Julie Kirkwood uses cold, muted colors and shadowy lighting to visually represent the film’s themes of isolation and fear. Each shot is meticulously composed to heighten the sense of unease, making the boarding school a character in its own right.

As the film reaches its climax, the full extent of the malevolent forces at play is revealed, culminating in a series of shocking and deeply unsettling revelations. “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” leaves a lasting impression, its slow-burn horror lingering in the mind long after the credits roll, making it a compelling watch for those who appreciate atmospheric and psychological horror.

Embark on a journey through the eerie realms of folk horror, where each film offers a unique blend of terror and psychological depth. Whether you seek supernatural mysteries that defy explanation or the unsettling unraveling of the human psyche, these movies promise to linger in your thoughts long after the credits roll. Delve into the dark allure of folk horror and immerse yourself in tales where the line between reality and nightmare blurs into chilling uncertainty.

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