The Witch in the Window 2018
1h 17min | Drama , Horror | 23 July 2018 (Canada)
When Simon brings his twelve year-old son, Finn, to rural Vermont to help flip an old farmhouse, they encounter the malicious spirit of Lydia, a previous owner. And now with every repair they make – she’s getting stronger.
Taking a trip into up North, a father and his young son intending to use the trip to flip a property he owns into a bonding experience between them, but as they begin to fix up the house a series of strange events causes them to believe that the locals’ witch stories might be real.
This wasn’t all that bad of an effort. One of the strongest points of this one is the rather fine way this dives into the family dynamics between the two which is at the heart of the film. As the opening shots of this immediately giving us the idea of a strained relationship at the heart of the film, from their inability to really get an idea of each others’ likes and dislikes or the outright disapproval of their trip which is further enhanced by the events showcased once they arrive. Although you can tell it picks up nicely between them as the two develop a somewhat closer bond over time, the fact that we still get to see him blow up at the kid for totally unwarranted situations still manages to ring true here. Most of the events in the second half where it becomes far more obvious that something’s in the house with them all stem from the idea of trying to protect the kid which gives them far more potency and impact. Once that occurs, this one picks up rather nicely with the fine ability to showcase some really enjoyable scenes here. The early idea of the haunted farmhouse, from them hearing rattling in the walls or in the basement to the boxes being found in different places than where they left them really help to give this a strong atmosphere already before it even brings up the ghostly legend of the area. That helps to tie into the freaky sequences in the second half, where they actually encounter it sitting in the chair in the fabled room unresponsive to anything and then chasing them out of the house in one of the better scenes in here. Another rapid-fire series of scenes in the final half twisting around a tender moment between them is a fine jump, and the melancholia of the ending is certainly well-deserved. As well as the great location-work to make the house itself seem creepy and foreboding in its unassuming matter, these here work nicely to hold this up over its flaws. The main problem to be had here is the rather obvious low-key approach to the material that can turn some off. This isn’t explosive or action-packed in the slightest, even with the shortened running time as the family drama over the first half is the main focus of the film. Taking on more of bonding, reconnecting style of presentation rather than going for more of a horror atmosphere that could’ve been developed with the idea of the witch haunting the house. The lack of real supernatural demonstrations and overt witchcraft dealings that most normally expect in such efforts are totally missing here and somewhat stall this one from what it could’ve offered which isn’t a detriment to the film at all for that might be a positive in some regards. Still, it’s an overriding issue here and one that should be brought up.
Director: Andy Mitton
Writer: Andy Mitton
Stars: Arija Bareikis, Alex Draper, Zach Jette
Release Date: 23 July 2018 (Canada)
Also Known As: The Vermont House
Filming Locations: Middlebury, Vermont, USA