Wendigo review by The Grim Ringler

Wendigo

You really have to give it to people willing to take a risk and make a movie with a message, especially when its a horror film. Fact is that most horror films are lucky if they even have the semblance of a plot, let alone something to say, and its kinda nice to see that someone actually bothered to write a story. And a darned original one. Just not a terribly good one.

A family of three heads to the woods for some vacation time, having rented a house up there but on the way are accosted by some surly hunters after the family hits a deer the hunters were tracking. Angered that his deer was killed not by him but by this family, one of the hunters in particular makes his distaste for these interlopers known and its his leering gaze that haunts the family as they are finally able to get their car out of the snow and back onto the road and off towards their destination. But they are fast discovering that the world they suddenly find themselves in is a far cry from the city they have left behind when the father finds several bullet holes in the house and its windows, and he is fast realizing that perhaps they made a mistake on taking this trip. Their son can feel it too, having nightmares of the man that hassled them that day and as they find the next day, his mind is showing the effects of the surroundings as he begins to see a phantom Indian and claims to have spoken with him. What the boy spoke about with the Indian was the Indian legend of the Wendigo a malevolent cannibal spirit that is as much air as it is body, and is a dark shadow that haunts the woods for souls to devour. And all of this comes into play as the boy and his father go sledding near their house and the father is mysteriously shot as they journey down the hill, and as the events turn, we come to find that the one that has shot the father is none other than the man that they had the first encounter with a man whose childhood home the family is staying in. And as the fathers life hangs in the balance in a hospital the killer finds that though he has managed to escape the local police, he cannot escape the spirit of vengeance that is the Wendigo, and cannot escape the consequence for what he has done.

Confused? So was I? I mean, you watch this entire film and are waiting for some Wendigo action and sure, it comes, but at the end, and its almost an afterthought. Its alluded to, but its never really a participant. Which is cool, in a way, because they dont rely on some monster to save them from writing a story. They rely on the story to tell you about a monster. Only the monster is human. Its interesting. As are the undertones of loss and of dealing with death. Its good stuff and the actors do well by the material. And it all looks pretty darn good, even the Wendigo (who is wisely shown sparsely), but none of it really makes you FEEL which to a movie like this is the cardinal sin. You never feel connected to anyone in it, you feel for them, but you dont feel their pain. And it all seems like a sort of folk tale about revenge. And as such it may have worked. But unfortunately nothing about the movie is much better than average. Nothing leaves you with a palpable feeling afterward. Once the movies done, its done. And thats too bad.

There are a few extras, the most interesting to me being a documentary on the film itself, which is really well made and while without any sound, is rounded out with the soundtrack from the film and it really works that way.

As a stepping-stone to better things, I think that the director shows some real promise. He has the right ideas, just not the right tools to realize them yet. But as a film, Wendigo is sadly average, not bad at all, but nothing you really will feel upset about not having seen. Lets hope this is merely the awkward beginnings of what will be a very interesting career for this director.

c


6 out of 10 Jackasses

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