By Eliza Berman
January 12, 2016

What is a family to do when one son vanishes, another child becomes possessed and all the barn animals begin showing signs of malice? Blame the eldest daughter of witchcraft, of course. This is the premise introduced in the new trailer for The Witch, a historical horror thriller which won debut director Robert Eggers a prize for Best Director at Sundance in 2015.

Newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy stars as the accused young woman, who has gone to live with her family at a homestead on the outskirts of an eerie forest. The place is New England and the year is circa 1630, more than 60 years before the infamous Salem witch trials began in 1692.

The Witch comes from A24 Films, which produced a string of highly regarded movies in 2015, including The End of the Tour, Amy, Ex Machina and Room. By all appearances an austere and chillingly bleak examination of the ways in which religion, paranoia and distrust can tear at the seams of an otherwise stable family, it looks to be a welcome new twist on the genre.

The Witch hits theaters Feb. 19.

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