Review: Wendigo


Hmm, where to start with this surreal independent film, which incidentally has little to do with the Wendigo creature depicted in the title. It certainly was a bizarre film.

The press on this title is most definitely divided, with reviews nominating the film for either best or worst film ever! And after viewing I can see why.

The plot of the film is really linear; a small family en route to a holiday house out in the wilderness hit a deer whilst on a dark road. Upon stopping the family are soon confronted by the hunter of the deer who gets a little arsy about the broken antler which he planned to sell for profit. After this incident the family, still shaken up a little, keep finding little clues that the hunter may still be around. I’m not going to give the game away but basically this all builds to a climax.

It is at this point you may be thinking ‘where does the wedigo creature come in?’, well, and this is why I think there is such mixed reviews about the film, the Wendigo is depicted more as an entity materialised from a traumatic child trying to rationalise the disturbing events he has witnessed rather than a spirit going on a mad one.

Something all viewers must be aware of before they view ‘Wendigo’ is that it is a film heavily emphasising symbolism and artistic style rather than a creature film. If you are expecting a weird monster to be harassing the family then this film is not for you.

I too had mixed feelings. I got the point of the film, I understood the metaphors and symbolisms, I appreciated the character development but overall the film is a really lacklustre event. 

The main problem with this film is that basically nothing really happens. It’s a good hour before anything chilling or disturbing actually happens and, without being sarcastic, it seems more like a drama than anything to do with horror. Basically the characters are introduced, and then for the full 60 minutes we simply see their activities whilst the are on holiday. It is only in the last 30 minutes anything resembling an un-nerving event actually occurs.

Whilst the film certainly misses the marks in terms of entertainment it does make up a little in style, I enjoyed watching some of the more unusual effects employed in this film. The camera work is really quite impressive, the use of different filters make some scenes look really cool and some of the camera angles (most of which show scenes shot through bare tree branches) contribute a little into building up an atmosphere. The film was clearly shot on a very limited budged and the creature effects, whilst not great, are definitely given an edge by the use of time-lapse shots. Some of these effects, whilst accompanied by an unusual and eerie score do help to build a little tension every now and then.

So, overall, not a great film. You could perhaps blame the choice to market it as a creature film which is “genuinely creepy”, because quite frankly it is neither; having said that I’m not sure what it could be classed as. Perhaps a tense drama?

It is however a pretty decent example of how you can actually make quite a lot out of very little as when you think back you will actually find that there was very little substance yet I can honestly say that I did not get bored at any point.. So, if you are a film critic then perhaps you might want to take a look at some of the clever techniques used in Wendigo but for the average viewer I doubt that you would be that impressed.

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