DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

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w e n d i g o . . .

w e n d i g o
w e n d i g o
{XXXI A.S./ Director: Larry Fessenden; Starring Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber}

A dark psychological thriller which accesses more of an atmospheric sense of terror, rather than blatant displays of gore - very subtle, leaving the mind to 'fill in' some of the plot ideas - one derives a sense of 'something' haunting the woods, being itself part of the woods, the trees, the grass, the wind, the animals, the night itself. Like The Skin Walker, The Wendigo is the spirit of vengeance in native american culture, invoked to address a wrong committed by the rotten, to set the natural balances straight.

A family travels through the backwoods when they become entrapped within a snowy ditch after having struck a deer on the highway, and the only people around are a gaggle of hunting drunken rednecks who complain that the deer's antlers are broken, thus minimizing its prize value. The family eventually make it to their destination, but not after the presumptuous interference of the hicks, especially "Otis" now and again, who also happens to be a peeping Tom. The new house seems haunted, with its bloody memories appearing to the perceptive son, in somewhat of a "sixth sense" manner.

They take a quick trip into town to survey the local neighborhood, and come across a store selling rather odd little items, when the boy is confronted by a native american stranger who relates to him the legend of 'the wendigo', and bestows him a veritable talisman resembling a deer-like 'Pan' figure - the stranger disappears as mysteriously as he appeared, like the wind, yet the story of the wendigo haunts the boy, who begins sensing its presence throughout the environment, which begins increasing exponentially as the nights go on - a feeling of impending doom looms heavy in the air.

So he and pop go sledding, but things go horribly awry, as dad is knocked off therefrom and lays in a bloody heap in the snow. After a few hours of unconsciousness, he is taken to the hospital, and much is revealed in the climax of the film, as the wendigo lurks in the darkness of the forest, taking an anthropomorphic form as well, and justice is served in a delightfully ironic twist at the end.

This is probably not a film for those with a short attention span, accustomed to exaggerrated stuntman exploits, profuse gore, or fight movies, as again, the plot is subtle, and many wonderful effects are used to accentuate the pleasant eeriness felt here. To truly appreciate the film, one must immerse oneself completely within it. An understanding of metaphor and poetic justice is elemental. After viewing this film, take a brisk walk out into the night - it certainly makes one's Nocturnal Consitutional that much more intriguing...

[Rating: 3/5.]

Tags: wendigo

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