THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW is the latest film from writer/director Andy Mitton (co-director of We Go On), and is a supernatural tale centered around a fractured relationship between a father and his son. The film stars Alex Draper (YellowBrickRoad), Charlie Tacker (American Poltergeist), Arija Bareikis (The Purge), Greg Naughton (The Independents) and Carol Stanzione (Deliver Us From Evil). The film just had its World Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival on July 23rd.
Simon (Alex Draper) is a divorced dad doing whatever he can to try and bring his family back together. After purchasing a house in Vermont, he brings his 12-year-old son Finn (Charlie Tacker) from New York to help in renovating the house in hopes that it’ll assist in bridging the gap between the two. Used to the fast-paced life that New York City offers, Finn struggles to acclimate himself to the quieter surroundings Vermont offers as well as the one-on-one time with his father. However, strange noises begin to reverberate within the house, bringing forth the terrifying apparition of the woman who once lived there. As the horrors of their surroundings become more clear, Simon grapples with the notion that he may not always be able to protect his son.
When I first saw We Go On last year, I was blown away by how co-directors Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland were able to weave a terrifying narrative into a story that brilliantly evoked what it felt like to lose someone. Since then, I’ve been watching both of their careers flourish and was excited to learn that Andy would be directing a standalone film that once again pulls from the depths of our emotions while weaving together a supernatural tale. As a whole, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW is a quiet film in the sense that it doesn’t require constant jump-scares or over-the-top special effects, instead it focuses on the relationship between a father and his son and the direct parallel that has to renovating a broken home and the spirit inhabiting it.
In order for this movie to work, the acting had to be top-notch. Alex Draper’s performance of a divorced dad going to great lengths to bring his family back together is both heartwarming and tragic. It goes without saying that he absolutely steals the show as he is a character that is easy to relate to as he works on putting the pieces back together from the mistakes of his past. Charlie Tacker, who portrays Simon’s 12-year-old son Finn, also gives a fantastic performance. I loved the complexity that Finn faces as he struggles with the distance between him and his father especially during a period where he’s transitioning from a kid to a teenager. Alex and Finn’s chemistry works wonderfully on screen, allowing the audience to really feel for what they both end up going through.
I have always been a fan of ghost stories as well as haunted house tales and THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW is easily one of the more unique ones I’ve seen in recent years. Though not as terrifying as other tales that surround a haunting, there is something special about this film in the way that it wraps itself around you and stays with you long after the film has finished. A huge part of that I attribute to the fact that the story has a believable quality to it. Time and time again we hear of old homes being haunted, especially when homeowners decide to renovate. It’s at this time when these spirits that inhabit these homes seem to come to life, so to speak. The film also has a beautiful quality in its presentation of the home, which lends itself wonderfully to an atmosphere that can easily become ominous.
All in all, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW is a fantastic film that combines a subtle, yet effective, ghost story while also being relatable in terms of family dynamics. If you are expecting moments of sheer terror or carnage, then this might not be the film for you, as it instead showcases horror in both a supernatural way as well as how we perceive ourselves and the actions we take. It’s also a study on the lengths we are willing to go for those that we love, especially when we realize how fast time is running out. If you are a fan of horror films that have more meat on their bones in terms of emotional storytelling then make sure to keep an eye out for THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW.