*The following contains spoilers for the movie, The Witch(2015).
Wouldst Thou Like To Live Delicously?- Black Phillip, The Witch(2015)
New England during the 1630’s was a time rife with religious zealotry and paranoia. Brought up to believe their very existence was one of sin, much of New Englanders’ time was devoted to repenting and finding salvation in Christ. No other film better embodies this aspect of pioneer life than The Witch. Constantly toting the line between family drama, suspense, and the supernatural, The Witch is an unnerving masterclass in dread.
There are tons of unsettling things about the movie, but my favorite has to be the end reveal of Black Philip, the family’s pet goat. Since the start of the film, Black Philip is constantly talked about and escorted by the family’s young twins. They don’t ever shut up about the goat and its a constant source of annoyance for the rest of the clan. The twins are also extremely bratty and mischievous, going so far with their accusations against their older sister that they pretend she is causing them physical pain with one of her spells.
When the eldest sister seeks to commune with Black Phillip and it is revealed that he is, in fact, an agent of the Devil, the prior events of the film start to take on a far more sinister meaning. With honeyed whispers, the Devil poisoned their young impressionable minds and set the twins against their sister. The goat was always an agent of chaos, sowing doubt amongst the family while deceptively appearing as normal unruly livestock.
Thomasine, the eldest sister, always felt that there was something wicked in her heart and she was right because the Devil saw it too. Everything was a master manipulation to drive a youthful woman into His arms and to twist her into a coven with other witches by film’s end. It makes you wonder if all the other women floating by the campfire were innocent girls masterfully manipulated as only the Devil could.