The Curse (The Witch) - Maniac (2022)
Spoilers for both The Witch (2015) and the fanedit, The Curse (2022).
This is an edit of The Witch, Robert Eggers’ first feature. I requested this edit from Maniac a while back as I felt that the film had a lot of potential, being a very effective psychological horror, but I disliked two main things - the Old English dialogue, which became excessive and irritating after a while, and the ending, which moved the film more objectively away from psychological horror towards supernatural horror. This edit fixes both of these objections.
Firstly, a large chunk of the film is cut entirely - about 39 minutes in all, leaving the edit at a rapid pace of just 53 minutes. I had no problem with this as fanedits that are just rehashes of the original with little changed don’t interest me - this is an entirely different take.
Along with the cut footage goes a large chunk of the cumbersome dialogue, and as a result I felt the edit’s dialogue was more than tolerable.
There is a significant amount of rescoring and sound effects added which further darken the mood and bring a frantic, panicked feel to the edit - very skillful work. Additionally, the characters of Thomasin and Caleb are placed at the forefront, and each are given new flashbacks. These are taken from scenes that played out linearly in the original but are repurposed in an incredibly effective manner. Even though Maniac says he’s not a fan of psychological horror, he has ironically enough made this film even more of a psychological horror by increasing the ambiguity of events and implying that even more of the film takes place in the characters’ minds than the original does.
Finally, there are two death scenes that are both handled better by Maniac than in the original. Firstly, the aforementioned flashbacks edited for Caleb, giving him a much more unnerving death than in the original, which instead features a long monologue. The second is the death of the baby, which in the original takes place early on, but now forms the basis of Maniac’s much more ambigious ending. In both cases, the A/V editing is simply outstanding.
I’d say this is another masterpiece in fanediting from Maniac, and he should seriously consider putting out a couple more psychological edits in between the guts and gore. Similarly to Eggers, Maniac understands very well what makes the audience feel fear and discomfort.