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10 Horror Movies That Purposefully Mess With Your Head

9. The VVitch

A24

The role which rocketed Split star Anya Taylor-Joy to superstardom, the corrupted heroine of 2015's The VVitch seems at first glance to be an innocent young woman accused of witchcraft by her over-zealous religious parents, prompting her to sell her soul to the devil in exchange for survival and a chance to live deliciously at the film's enigmatic close.

But there's actually a far more grounded explanation for The Lighthouse director Robert Eggers' feature debut, and it's rooted in the painstaking period detail the film dwells upon.

This strange indie horror appears to depict the gradual breakdown of a small puritan family’s collective mental state, but some canny viewers noted that ergot poisoning is as likely to be the historical cause of the cast’s madness as demonic intervention.

The small farm they're exiled on is remote and far from the sparse "civilisation" which had rejected their intense religious fervour, and its corn crop is shown to be infected with ergot. That's a poisonous fungus which causes hallucinations, fever, convulsions... And everything else this fractured family suffer through in this disturbing horror.

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Cathal Gunning hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.