Wendigo: Review – Premiere

Posted on 03. May, 2010 by in Press, Wendigo: Press

Premiere
March 2003
Aaron Hillis
* * * (3 of 4 stars)

The Movie: Living in the shadow of The Blair Witch Project, writer-director Larry Fessenden’s art-house horror flick is swathed in a subtle, textural eeriness that few American films have scared up. Essentially a contemporary reworking of Deliverance, the story follows a family during a weekend getaway in the Catskills, where a traffic accident forces a clash between the city folk and some bumpkin hunters. The goose bumps really start rising when the film shifts to the point of view of the eight-year-old son, whose young psyche associates the tension around him with a Native American legend of a forest beast, the wendigo. Effective uses of time-lapse photography and lo-fi puppetry help weave a simple tale into a retellable campfire story, but a lackluster ending makes any mental replay of this sometimes-intriguing film a letdown.

The Disc: Fessenden, whose tooth-deficient smile reminds one of said bumpkins, takes himself a little too seriously in his on-the-street interview, and his audio commentary is too sparse to maintain interest. A behind-the-scenes look at the film combines storyboard art and some creature-making fun, which will hopefully make you forget about the film’s last-minute derailing.

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