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Director: Robert Eggers Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson Running Time: 92 minutes

Fear is not only a sudden emotion, a shriek let out at something jumping out at you. There’s also the fear that you carry with you, an omnipresent dread, a fear that can’t be outrun not because it’s a machete-wielding monster man that’s always following but because it’s already always with you. The main characters of The Witch are written pitch-perfectly by debuting writer/director Robert Eggers, thrown into a basic horror premise-there’s something spooky in the woods-to twist and turn under the pressure of an environment of fear. As Puritan Christians who see themselves as damned sinners, their baseline emotion is fear and The Witch is overwhelmingly thorough in making the audience feel its character’s fear, even when creepy witches aren’t cackling away.

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When every glance at the news these days reinforces that the nightmare that is real life has only just begun, the prospect of being sacrificed in a pagan ritual begins to look like a relative comfort. With that in mind, the Irish Film Institute is offering some escapism in the coming weeks with an exciting programme of folk horror films running until the 30th of July.

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