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The Anya Taylor-Joy Horror Hidden Gem You Can Stream On Amazon

Most streaming services are crammed full of horror movies, especially the low-budget features that didn't get a theatrical release, but there in the sea of choices is occasionally a true diamond in the rough. A brilliant horror hidden gem starring Anya Taylor-Joy – one guaranteed to put you on edge — is a perfect example. And no, we don't mean M. Night Shyamalan's Split, or even Glass. This chilling tale set in 1630s New England follows a family of settlers as they're plagued by superstition and witchcraft.

Available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video, The Witch – or, as its poster reads, The VVitch – is a sublime film from director Robert Eggers that plays into the paranoia that went hand-in-hand with religion in the 17th century. A family of Puritan settlers fall foul of witches in a secluded forest after they're banished from the Plymouth settlement in New England. Sure, the rest of the cast is brilliant, but the standout performance undeniably comes from Taylor-Joy as Thomasin, a young woman whose family accuses her being the witch who kidnapped her baby brother.

Perhaps what the film does best is put the audience on edge by scaring them with what they can't see. Eggers clearly knows that directly showing the threat takes away a lot of the tension and its power. Thus, most of The Witch's scares are shrouded in darkness, or hinted at rather than a typical jump scare. One such moment sees Thomasin and her siblings waking up to find a haunting old woman causing havoc in the goat shed. And that's without mentioning the infamous Black Phillip.

Why you should keep an eye on Robert Eggers

The Witch was Eggers' directorial debut — and what a way to get your name out. Not only does The Witch boast an incredibly tense performance from Taylor-Joy, but it also proved to be a divisive film among audiences and critics alike. While many praised the way the eerie atmosphere builds to a violently intense crescendo, others hated the slow burn. Writing for The Reader, Ryan Syrek criticized the film's pace, saying, "The biggest magic The Witch has to offer is making 93 minutes feel like the rest of your natural life." Meanwhile, Sarah Cartland of Caution Spoilers called The Witch "exceptionally chilling", so chances are that you'll either love it or hate it.

Overall, it's obvious that Eggers enjoys making artful horror films that offer the audience something with a little more depth than the usual jump-a-minute blockbusters. (Not that there's anything wrong with those types of films — they can be a scream with the right audience.) Eggers' second feature-length release, The Lighthouse, was further evidence that he enjoys toying with themes of loneliness and abandonment while characters are seemingly haunted by a higher power. That said, his next film, The Northman, is being described as a Viking revenge epic and stars Alexander Skarsgård alongside Taylor-Joy, so maybe Eggers is looking to switch things up for a bit (via Deadline). 

Without ruining the ending of The Witch, the movie is worth a watch purely for the horrifically bizarre nature of the goat called Black Phillip. Eggers movies might not be for everyone, but The Witch proves that the director's taste for horror and the occult makes for some fascinating creative choices. With Taylor-Joy's ever-growing popularity, her performance in The Witch deserves to be seen — if only to understand the true power behind all those "Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?" GIFs that film Twitter loves.