This indie movie definitely has the creep factor going for it. This well crafted low budget film grossed $40 million at the box office compared to the mere $4 million it took to make it.
The premise is a family of Puritans who are at odds with the local church officials in a small colony town and as a result are exiled by town officials. The father, (who is the reason the family gets exiled from the town), drags the family out into the New England wilderness to start a new life. As the days progress calamity befalls the family. The series of disasters starts with the disappearance of the youngest of the family, a baby boy who has not been baptized and becomes the first victim of a witch living in the thick, deep, dark forest near-by for her unseemly activities. This causes a rift between the oldest daughter, who was watching the baby when he vanished, and the mother. Then the crops start to fail and drives the father and his oldest son, Caleb, into the forest to hunt wild game. When they come across a strange-looking hare the father goes to kill it only to have his flintlock rifle backfire into his face. Then Caleb, desperate to help his family, goes off into the forest alone and also becomes a victim of the old Witch who presents herself as a young, hot seductress to the young teenager. He too vanishes only to show up a few nights later naked and incoherent. He too dies. The chickens refuse to lay eggs and instead lay dead chicks. The she-goats give blood instead of milk. Soon accusations of witchcraft are hurled at the eldest daughter by the fraternal twins and she accuses them of witchery by consorting with the black goat they own call Black Phillip. The mother goes insane with grief and hurls accusations at her eldest daughter. The father nails them up in the small goat shed only to come out and find that the twins have disappeared and the eldest daughter lying as if dead, but merely asleep. The he-goat, Black Phillip attacks and kills the father. The mother seeing her husband slaughtered by the goat blames the eldest daughter and attacks her in a frenzy forcing the daughter to react in self defense and thus killing the mother. This leaves the daughter in a quandary. She can not return to the colony town for fear of also being accused of witchcraft and put to death, nor can she stay in the middle of no where without risking her own life.
In the end, she makes a bargain with Black Phillip; who is supposedly the devil in disguise.
This movie did a fantastic job of building suspense and maintaining the creepiness that keeps you waiting on the edge of your seat without any CGI or lame and cheesy special effects. Superbly acted and directed this is a rare gem in the era of crappy remakes and overdone CGI special effects.