Black Phillip and The Witch


I’ve had my hopes up for The Witch, the debut film of Robert Eggers. My main worry was that it might be a bit Instagram-Hipster-Witch, and maybe the colour palette is a little, BUT BUT I really loved it!

From the moment that the opening dialogue reveals an unexpected Yorkshire dialect to the Goya-esque closing scene, I was completely on board with everything that happened. I loved the grim Puritanical optimism; the cheery acceptance of sin and the hope, yet no certainty, that Heaven might be possible when you’re dead.

I loved the way (spoiler alert!) Caleb coughs up his first lie, the apple (so Book of Genesis! so Book of Grimm!) then dies blissfully in a state of grace, the Song of Solomon (I think?) upon his lips. What a gorgeous piece of macabre and make-believe.

I blame the parents. They should’ve paid closer attention to those funny little songs the children were singing:

” Black Phillip, King of Sea and Land, we are your servants, we are your men….”

they didn’t learn THAT at Sunday School. And those children were wilfully disobedient, skipping around, having fun, laughing (no one else was laughing, except, I’m sure of it, Black Phillip).

Laughing, fun, the promise of butter, nice frocks and a delicious life. If the alternative is an uncertain heaven, unleavened bread and washing cow shit off your clothes in a freezing cold river, no wonder you’d run off into the forest to join the witches. Where do I sign?

(P.S. Black Phillip deserves his own spin – off. I’ve never loved a goat more)


“Four Red Monks carrying a black goat across the snows to nowhere”

Alasteir Crowley


One thought on “Black Phillip and The Witch

  1. I finally got round to watching this and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting! To begin with the grimness and greyness put me off, but as Black Phillip worked his magick I grew to love it. Given the options, I would have danced off into the forest with him! x


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