6. Everyone Is Being Killed By... Nature? - The VVitch
Telling the tale of a puritan family banished from their home for undisclosed reasons, their venture out into the wilderness is fraught with difficulty. From farming struggles, to family disputes, to a f***ing witch stealing children on the forest line, their move isn’t working out well. By the end of the film, it’s revealed a demonic presence is the cause, and young daughter Thomasin chooses to ‘live deliciously’ with the witchy inhabitants of the woodland.
Up until this point however, we’re inundated with ambiguity. Are supernatural elements really at play here, or are there perfectly reasonable explanations? One theory suggests that the titular witch is but a fantasy, and in fact, it’s the elements at work tearing apart the family.
If we take the idea on face value that the initial baby disappearing was in fact due to wolves, and not a witch, and the following scene of the child being used in a ritual is representative of the family’s superstitious fears - then this is where it starts.
Each death on screen is a further push on the idea that nature is killing the family rather than witches: Caleb is delirious and ill from being lost in the woods, the father William is killed by the goat, and the twins disappear, presumably into the forest much in the same way as their siblings. Everything is an exaggerated version of a natural cause of death, seen through the lens of what the family assumes to be evil at work - but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the truth.
Only Katherine is killed out of self defence. And, to neatly round this theory off, the grain the family is growing is covered in black spots - a sign of a fungus called ergot that induces LSD-like hallucinations. This would explain the random acts of violence and paranoia from both the family and their animals. And just about everything else, really.