Film reviews

FrightFest 2019 – The Wind

The Wind is a slice of Western-themed horror, not something we see everyday. Rather than a linear narrative, the timeline of this film jumps around between past and present events, only slowly revealing all that has gone before. It tells the story of Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard), her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) and their neighbours Emma and Gideon (Julia Goldani Telles and Dylan McTee respectively) and the strange and horrifying things that eventually befall both their families as events spiral ever more out of control.

This is a slow burn psychological horror, layering on doubt and confusion, apprehension and horror little by little, bit by bit till the audience is as unsure as Lizzy is about what is real and what is just in her head. The closest comparison here is Robert Eggers’ The Witch, with its focus on isolation, family troubles and mysterious goings-on when there’s no-one around to see, or to help.

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Other than the cabin occupied by their neighbours, there is nothing around Lizzy and Isaac but rolling plains and distant mountains, their complete isolation hammered home by wide-angle shots displaying their surroundings, the wind adding its own soundtrack to near every scene. Sometimes gentle and quiet, other times shrill and menacing, it is always there.

The score by the composer known as Lovett is also a delight to listen to; by turns haunting, melodic and oppressive it fits perfectly within the film and works well as a standalone album as well. Standout tracks include ‘The Wind’, ‘Demons of the Prairie’ and ‘Spreading the Word of God’.

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The only real fly in the ointment here is the ending – oh dear, the ending. It near destroys all ambiguity about what has been going on up till this point and that’s a genuine shame. It’s still an interesting film, for sure, but a lighter touch with the ending might have seen it being left up to the audience to decide what had really happened while what we get instead just over-explains rather than leaving it in question.

It may just be my personal preference, but a good ‘grey-area’ ending can be every bit as satisfying as a cut and dried one, and in this instance it does leave a hint of a bad taste in the mouth as the credits roll. That said, if you’re in the market for a slice of Western-flavoured mind-fuckery, this is well worth a look.

The Wind is available on Digital HD from 2nd September from Signature Entertainment.

Follow our daily coverage of FrightFest here.

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