a) Learn more about human interaction and how to write natural-sounding dialogue and characters
b) Learn more about the process of capturing an aesthetically appealing image on camera
c) use freak-ass editing and shitty looking jump shots and reiterate over and over through repetitive scenes that THIS FAMILY HAS PROBLEMS BUT IT'S OKAY THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.
Three guesses as to which option Larry Fessenden picked. By the way, Fessenden is clearly the biggest tool ever. If this movie's chronic head-up-its-ass syndrome wasn't a definite indicator, look at his picture on IMDB. It sends douche chills running up my spine.
I guess it's not fair to totally lambast this movie, because there were one and a half things I liked about it. The first is Patricia Clarkson, who I'll watch in basically anything; why she is pissing her career away in movies like this and The Woods totally eludes me. I'm really glad she's in Shutter Island, the new Scorsese film which I'm fucking excited for. GO PATTY GO
The other half thing that I kind of liked was that Wendigo does try to explore some interesting themes before it falls in love with its own idiotic mythos. Ideas like moral objectivity and sentience are touched upon ever so slightly; sadly, Fessendouche refuses to expound on them, instead opting to show us jittery stop-motion shots of some cunt in a deer suit running around in the woods.
But what's wrong with Wendigo? Besides what I've already mentioned - Jake Weber is impressively bad. If you're getting out-acted by a seven year old, then it's time to find a new job. Said seven year old is actually a pretty good actor, but guys, DON'T put him in any more horror films. His scared expression was by far the most unintentionally hilarious moment in a movie that is full of them. Eh, I forgive him, he wasn't too heinous for the most part.
Moody and atmospheric, this is a great little indie horror film, well worth a look.
If the filmmakers had wanted to make a gory monster movie, the story elements would have supported it.
But that's not the kind of movie they wanted to make. The problem is, that's the kind of movie a jaded audience might expect as the story unfolds. Their expectations get in the way of judging the movie for what it is.
Yes, the movie could benefit from more plot, more tension. I found myself urging the characters to move it along a few times.
I enjoyed the unusual camera and editing tricks, although they sometimes were used in strange places.
Ultimately, I liked it. Wendigo is about mood. Fantasy vs. reality. The struggle to be a "good" person in a changing world.
Boring, uninteresting characters, uninteresting plot, and he turned the Wendigo into some sort of generic vengeful spirit and kinda forgot that cannibalism is its main deal.
Well this is the kind of movie that starts off as if it could be good but halfway through nothing happens then when something does happen theres still hope, but it just gets so ridiculous, like all these flashing images but you wont no what anything is too do with, its a complete mess. One of the boringest and just worst horror's ever, Whoever put this together missed every piece to the puzzle. hmm 0.5 out of 10 lol.
Pretty much an unknown film that gets constantly overlooked... for good reason. I'm going to throw this out right now: I'm not criticising this film for not having a big budget. Though I can't find even a guess as to how much this film cost to make, it's evident that it didn't cost a lot. It's an independent film, which is why I'm not criticising it for the budget. However, just because it's an independent film does not mean I'm just going to go easy on it. I feel that you should be able to make a good film, regardless the amount of money behind you. The fact of the matter is that Wendigo wasn't a horror film that needed lots of money behind it, so the fact that it doesn't work too well isn't due to the fact that it had little money behind it.
George is a high-strung professional photographer, starting to unravel from the stress of working with a Manhattan advertising agency. Needing to take a break away from the city, George takes his wife Kim and their son Miles upstate to New York, to enjoy the winter sights. The drive up though is bad. George accidentally hits and injures a deer that ran into the road. Confronted by an angry hunter, Otis, he finds out that that specific deer had been hunted for a long time. When they finally arrive at the cabin, Miles is told by a shopkeeper about the legend of the Wendigo. It doesn't take Miles long to wonder if the creature he has been told about is responsible for the misfortunes that his family are having. I want to point out that Wendigo isn't a commonly known word, and it takes the film over half an hour to explain to us what the word means. Seriously, try going up to someone and asking them what a Wendigo is. The grand majority of people I asked had no clue what I was talking about, and those that did only knew because they had a strong interest in mythical creatures. The Wendigo is a beast from Indiana Folklore: a Half-Man and Half-Deer that can change itself at will. Would you know what one is if you didn't just read it? No. As much as I appreciate the fact that it isn't giving us a flat out explanation straight-away, there's no hint as to figure out what one means. Also, I said that it takes about half an hour for the film to explain it. It's 34 minutes to be exact. The film is 1 hour and 28 minutes, including credits. The first 34 minutes of the film should be used to introduce us to the characters in a way that we actually care about them; especially considering it waits a while to reveal the basic plot to us. Though the film is short, it's for the most part dull. It moves along at a very slow pace, and when something actually happens, it doesn't stick strongly in your mind at all. One of the biggest themes of the film is all about a child's imagination. It's a very cliché memory for a lot of children where they have a Sweatshirt hanging in a closet, but it looks like a monster in the dark. Wendigo tries to pull that same thing off, but what it does is very similar to Alice in Wonderland. For most of the film, we are supposed to wonder whether or not these Wendigo scenes are actually happening, or whether it's all in Miles's head; much like in Alice in Wonderland where we're supposed to wonder whether or not there ever was a Wonderland. As much as this approach could have been pretty good; the film fails at exploring it as well as it could have. There's no part of the film that motivates you to make an interpretation of your own, because you genuinely don't care. If we at all cared for the characters, then maybe we would have. Not to mention, there are certain events that kind of break the illusion of these Wendigo scenes possibly being real. I'm not going to reveal the ending, because it's something I don't like to do in a review, but the scenes that make ruin the illusion aren't very well put into the plot. The film constantly tries to get inside your mind and see the logical side of things... that you'd guess yourself anyway. The way it compares the Wendigo story to Mr. Freeze from Batman and Dr. Evil from Austin Powers (direct references from the film), shows you just how much it's trying to appeal to the common pop culture crowd. Also, it's stupid. "They're just stories in your head". The difference between the Wendigo and the villains that were mentioned is that the Wendigo is an ancient Indian myth, whereas the others are fictional character created in the basis of entertainment. Did you ever see an ancient Indian scroll that engraved the immortal line "I'll get you Mr. Powers... isn't that right Mini-Me". Even if you cared, there's no point in making your own interpretation like the film encourages you to, because it's not done very well. Why should we put effort ourselves into interpreting the film, if the film-makers can't be bothered to make it a redeemable experience. It's a shame, because I really liked the premise of the film; just not the execution of it.
The film tries to be artsy a lot of the time. Towards the end of the film, there's a montage displaying different Camera angles that don't fit a moving story, as well as vibrant visuals. It's all an attempt to sell the fantasy mystery surrounding of the Wendigo, and a metaphorical way of showing you just how unusual and unpredictable the creature would be if it for sure existed. It doesn't do the film well though, and it's clear that it's trying to go for that artsy excuse to redeem itself. Like I mentioned, the budget for this film is very small from what I can guess. This meant that they didn't have much to spend on the effects for the Wendigo creature. The way I see it though, if you're going to make a big deal of showing us something, makes sure it's good enough to see. If you want to use the bad effect well at all; make sure you use it in moderation. When the Wendigo appears on screen, they try desperately to scare you. It's hard to be scared though of an effect that looks like it belongs in an 80's American restaurant. You know the one's I'm talking about. The ones that have animatronics that do performances on stage. Things like Chuckecheese. It's not until the end that it piles on these special effects, because until the end it just shows us what we're supposed to think of as Antlers of the Wendigo. They just look like sticks, and its clear how desperate the director wants you to think it as the Wendigo because of the shaky cam used. Nothing screams desperation than imitation of an infamous scene from the Blair Witch Project. In fact, at times it seems to be going for the Blair Witch Project vibe: regular people coming across a creature thought to be myth. The camera doesn't show the creature in full much, and we're meant to be scared of what possibly could happen, as to what does happen. Even the ending, with the mystery that it has, screams Last Broadcast wannabe.
The performances in Wendigo are downright terrible. George is played by Jake Weber, whom I have only seen in his small role in Born on the Fourth July. Weber isn't very good in this film; the dialogue he is given is terrible, but the way he delivers doesn't sound like normal speech. Patricia Wilson is terrible too. There are parts of the film where she's meant to be confused and terrified, but it's totally unconvincing. One thing in particular about her performance is when she has to swear. Granted, I dislike when horror films swear for the sake of it, but when Wilson delivers a swear word, it doesn't sound like any normal way of saying it. It sounds like she's putting way too much emphasis on it. I can't really describe it in words, but if you watch the film, you can see her putting so much strength into those specific words. Also, and this isn't the main problem with her performance, but she seems to be miscast down to her looks. She looks a lot older than the character should be. Miles is played by Erik Per Sullivan, who is most famous for playing the role of the little brother in Malcolm in the Middle. I don't remember much about the series, because I never watched much of it, but I know that Erik was ok in that. In this, he's gives a poor performance, and doesn't seem to react the way that a child would in these situations. I know people seem to think that children are incapable of pulling off convincing emotions in films, but I argue for Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense. With that performance, we saw the fear that the character was going through, but it wasn't an over-the-top performance. We believe him, but you don't believe Sullivan. The people in the village are meant to be portrayed as crazy, and would you know that they aren't portrayed very well. While performances about crazy people are meant to be over the top, they're also meant to be convincing. This is something that the performances in this are not.
Wendigo is not a good example of independent film-making, because it seems to be attempting to be a strong horror film, up there with some of the best of recent years. Because it tries too hard to do this, it begins to fail at being the film that it could have been. It's an extreme disappointment, and isn't a film I'd recommend to anyone but the hardcore horror buffs; but event then it's not something I think could be enjoyed.
Andrew's rating: 2 out of 10