Wendigo Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2008
Okay, let's say you're a deeply pretentious filmmaker with a shoestring budget and you want to do a movie about a family and a deer monster. You still following me? Good. Now, what's the best way to produce your "German expressionist horror film" while aptly disguising your lack of funding and lack of talent at the same time?

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.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2007
Since I watched this film directly after the atrocious 'Scarred' this film seemed Oscar worthy. The acting talent is there with both Clarkson and Weber creating an emotional and believable couple. The film keeps a slow and steady pace but then derails as finally father and son begn to bond in a way reminiscent of the dinner scene in 'Jaws' just in time for an accident that never sees this relationship come to fruition. Finally the mythological aspects come into play with a guy running round in a deer suit which looks so campy not one shot lasts longer than a second. What could have been a nice psychological family drama/horror just sort of flaps about like a dying fish.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2006
Interesting, but ultimately a let-down.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2011
Interesting story about a family thats spending a few days in a cabin but realise some blokes family lived there and he's being a bit of a dick about it. When the familys young son gets given this little wooden doll thing called a Wendigo by a mysrterious man weird shit starts to go down. Accept it doesn't! Not for ages anyway. This takes far to long to get going, only becoming interesting in the last 15 mins so just as your getting into it, it ends. Thers a couple of good bits, like when you see the Wendigo creature but overall, this is just boring and could have been so much better.
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2008
One of the oddest films ive seen for a while.....I was slightly drunk but still.......
October 19, 2010
Larry Fessenden crafts an almost 70's feeling film with this tale of the city folks out of their element at a remote cabin, where they naturally run afoul of the locals and the titular foreboding Indian spirit that lives in the woods.

Moody and atmospheric, this is a great little indie horror film, well worth a look.
April 30, 2010
A lot of people seem to hate this movie, and I guess I can see why, but I thought Larry Fessenden did a superb job telling the dramas of family connection (or lack there of) while using the myth of the wendigo as a back drop. The cinematography right from the start sucked me in. Beautiful snowy landscapes littered with decrepit dead trees. The atmosphere was very well done. So odd to the point I can't even explain it. And the images of the wendigo were very haunting and surreal. It's a shame that most people shrug this off as a lame attempt at a horror movie. Because when watched with the right eyes it's a film that succeds on a few levels and a film, at least to me, that is very effective.
½ May 26, 2008
Almost a great parable. Snappier editing, better special effects and the removal of a ridiculous sex scene would have created a movie that was memorable for the right reasons.
June 15, 2008
More an indie drama than a horror movie.

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.
April 12, 2008
Pretty good movie. It was slow though. It had a good story also. It started getting interesting in the last 30 minutes. I hated that the dad died at the end, it looked like he was going to survive.
March 30, 2008
This wasn?t so bad, just don?t buy it or waste a queue spot on it. For the wee hours of the night when there?s nothing else to do, it?s fine. Why the kid from Malcolm in the Middle is in it, I?m not sure. Money hungry parents probably.
March 21, 2008
Could've been a thousand times better, could've been authentically scarey, but they barely tried. I feel bad for this movie. It was mistreated and abused!
½ June 9, 2007
What the hell is this? I mean this thing must have been what was in Raiders of the Lost Ark that melted all of the Nazis. This is to movies as monkey feces is to chocolate. Just push fast forward and there, you get the same experience, a fraction of the time. 0/10.
½ April 16, 2014
my god, this movie is so bad... my dog could have made a really better movie! dialogues are irritating, plot is stupid, ... no words to say I hate it. don't waste your time watching it.
½ July 20, 2013
If this were a another type of film, I would have laughed at the titular character. But it is not another horror film, and I was genuinely disturbed by the creature. At the expense of sounding like too like a nerd and too unlike a film critic, I'd say that the subject of the Wendigo has always interested me, the stories about it I've always thought creepy. This film disappoints on a few levels, but for the most part, it tends the fires of my interest.
½ July 31, 2012
Fessenden forgot to write in any sort of point into this movie.

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.
½ September 23, 2011
This film sucked the sweat off of a dead reindeer's ball sack and spits it back in your face in the form of smelly ice sickles that pierce your skull and causes great agony. Only see this film if you like pain...DEEP PAIN!
December 20, 2010
"Wendigo"s heart seems to be in the right place but it can't pump any blood.
July 12, 2010
i cant tell you what this piece of shits about because its about nothing, something to do with a little indian doll, and some kid keeps seeing images of some indian cheif guy but it doesnt explain anything it's all jumbled up nothing makes sense, image after image, pointless scene after pointless seen, then the ending credits....

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.
July 1, 2010
"I dug you out of that ditch...you could have asked!" Otis Stookey -- John Speredakos

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
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