The trailer for Roberts Eggers and A24’s The Witch promises a 2016 release (I’m guessing in either January, February or March) and a 1.24.15 Jeff Sneider/Wrap story stated that the film would be viewable on DirectTV 30 days prior to theatrical. The Witch had its big debut at Sundance ’15, out of which Eggers won a U.S. Dramatic Competition directing award. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy wrote that the film is about refined filmmaking chops first and conventional horror thrills second, but that sounds fine to me.
“A genuine curiosity to bubble up from the contemporary American independent film scene, The Witch aims to extract modern horror thrills from a story set in a meticulously re-created Puritan New England of nearly 400 years ago. In the event, the dedication exerted to render the mores, beliefs, speech patterns and way of life among radical Calvinists of the period proves more compelling than does the witchcraft-saturated story, which is pretty short on scares or surprises.
“Writer-director Robert Eggers’ debut feature impresses on several fronts, notably in the performances, historical feel and visual precision, but the overall effect is relatively subdued and muted, probably too much so for mainstream scare fans. With its novelty value and presumed enthusiastic critical support in some circles, however, cult status and nice returns in smartly judged specialized release look likely.
“Beholding the director’s carefully judged use of symmetrically framed compositions, focus on children who may be in touch with other realms, carefully gauged naturalistic lighting, eerie classically tinged scoring and outbursts of female hysteria, it comes as no surprise to learn that the two most important influences on Eggers here were Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining and Ingmar Bergman‘s Cries and Whispers; from the former come the visual style and the sense of a place possibly haunted long ago, from the latter the spectacle of incipient madness overtaking women.”
Justin Chang‘s Variety review is a bit more of a cartwheel.