"There Is Evil in The Wood"
Minimalism in horror is something that is not celebrated enough, even now after many resurgences of the trend in cinematic storytelling have been unearthed and produced. When I use the term "minimalism", I mean subtleties in the scope of syntax that carry the weight to frighten the audience to create a memorable and terrific spectacle and accentuate their experiences.
Now this is a term that can bring to mind some very revered cinematic references that deal with the macabre. The initial example that speaks up in my mind is The Exorcist. You might think: "Obviously he was gonna say that", and I wouldn't blame you for that thought, because I just had it myself, but I came with a reason so hear me out. It's very simple in my mind and is not the popular reason for The Exorcist's majestic and hypnotizing horror that is widely recognized as Linda Blair's portrayal of Regan McNeil - a girl afflicted with a demon, and the supreme fear it gave people to listen to her recite the words: 'Let Jesus F*ck you". I admit, that's some pretty f'd up stuff. I mean, seriously.
The thing about The Exorcist that scared me was the two or three (don't quote me on that) flashes of the demon face shrouded in shadow, painted a ghost white, an overbite of teeth and red and yellow eyes that pop in your vision so fast and at the perfect time to make you flinch, or jump and get that prickly feeling on the back of your neck that feel like tiny hot hairthick fingers. Well, at least that was MY experience.
Or maybe we could use the D-tune John Williams composed score of Jaws, the crescendo that leads up to the shark. I could also use Robert Shaw's retelling of his ship blown up at sea and the shark that picks off his crewmates in the night as an equally effective subtlety that scared my pants off.
A personal favorite is that of Jennifer Kent's masterful 2014 release, The Babadook.
I can gush on about the perfection of this film for an embarrassingly long time (barring the peculiar ending, which I have my own theories on, but that's another story), so I won't. I will however, say that this film is a testament to the aforementioned resurgence of subtle horror that leaps many effortless bounds in the vein of horror, by respecting prior classics and directors (á la Hitchcock) as it payed homage to its predecessors, but still, on its very own, found a way to somehow create its own lane in the craft, as Kent used the mother/son relationship to foster the story and build the tension. It is a wonderful film that in due time, will become a renwoned heavyweight, and its use of minimalism and cryptic imagery will be the crux that alongside the incredible performances by the leads knighted the film a classic.
So far, I haven't mentioned The Witch and how it will become a classic. That's because I have seen the film and do not want to spoil a single moment for you. It's terrifying. The goat will scare you. The SCORE will floor you. The film is a masterpiece. If you want to go on Rotten Tomatoes to read a political review, then it behooves you not to. I did. I did a few times after seeing the film and seeing other people's reviews of the film augmented my own opinion for the better. When the film is released I'm February, I will publish the second half of my review/argument of why The Witch will be hailed as a modern, and all time classic when its all said and done. For now, go watch the trailer. No, forget that. Get up, turn the lights off, close the door to your room, and if up.your headphones to your laptop or phone and watch the trailer then. Go do it.