Within the first few minutes you will be confronted with a thoroughly creepy scene where you can't but help to run your imagination wild. You can't quite make out what is happening but you see enough to interpret it in many ways and that it's evil and sinister. This scene sets the tone for the film and never strays from it. From then on a sense of dread is present that slowly increases with a climax to remember.
Now this does mean the focus is on building tension and atmosphere rather than violence and scares. I mention this because some so called real horror fans are under the impression a horror film should be just that. Naturally they couldn't be more wrong and need to be educated on this. The Witch does an excellent job of keeping you in the dark of what is going on without getting boring.
However there are some elements that could be seen as distracting or just very flawed. The children are downright annoying. The way they behaved seemed more how kids would behave nowadays than in that time. Several times the kids spoke out against the parents like they were equal. I am willing to overlook some freedom for drama sake but that just rubbed me the wrong way. Another issue that could be a little annoying is how some actors speak. It is hard to make out what they are saying. Especially the father. Although the way he spoke and acted did add suspicion so in a way it can be seen as a good thing.
The climax like I said is one to remember and for me a satisfying one. It does not explain everything but it shows enough to tell you what the film was about. Overall The Witch is a good horror film since it does a lot with very minimal means. It masterfully plays into the classical fears all people have. You only get to see things when it really is necessary. It is refreshing to see that there still are film makers out there who understand their craft and don´t go overboard with effects and violence. There is absolutely no need for it to make good horror. One I can recommend.