I caught this on the Independent Film Channel last night. Very, very rarely will I actually watch IFC, as I find most of their selections obnoxious and pretentious. But I was flipping channels, and this one was about a monster! And not only that, the commercial they played beforehand made it look awesome, with all sorts of twitchy, antler headed goodness.
Plus, I had done research on the Wendigo legends, and there is one featured in a small role in my first novel. And I made him creepy as hell. So I like Wendigos. Cannibalistic Shamans cursed to walk the earth? How friggin’ cool is that?
So, I sat down to watch Wendigo, full of hope, and I’ve got to say, that it was one of the absolute worst, most annoying, boring, pretentious, and self-righteous pieces of garbage I’ve ever seen.
Let me break it down for you. This one was so bad, that my lovely wife of 10 years, who usually hates monster movies, watched it with me, just so she could give it the MST3K treatment throughout. I took notes on her comments, because though my snark-fu is strong, my wife is a 10th Dan Master Of Snark.
Basically the plot is some New Yorkers and their Volvo go out to Connecticut, where they hit a deer, and then get scared by some rednecks, and then almost nothing happens for an hour, until you’re so damn bored your eye start to bleed, then somebody gets shot, and in the last couple of minutes, the Wendigo shows up, looks stupid, doesn’t even kill anybody, and then the movie ends.
This movie pissed me off for a few reasons. First off, the New Yorkers are obnoxious. I could care less if they lived or died, and it wasn’t like the movie didn’t give us plenty of opportunities to get to know them, because all they do is talk and talk and talk and talk and talk for an HOUR. This move is titled Wendigo, not Woody Allen’s Deer Monster, damn it!
I’m not kidding about the talking. And it wasn’t dialog that was pertinent to the movie. There was one part where the puffy headed father has a five minute phone conversation (you only hear his half) where he talks about his photography job, and how the client didn’t like the lighting. Then a scene later, the wife, who’s apparently a shrink, has a phone conversation with one of her clients, which has no bearing on the plot at all, only to have another call come in, that might possibly be related to the plot, only to put that caller on hold, and then go back to the inane conversation, only to come back to the plot related call, to find out that he’s hung up.
No, I’m not kidding. Meanwhile Dewey from Malcom in the Middle is having nightmares, and we get to have scenes of psychobabble between the parents about their kid. The boredom was palpable. You could actually see the boredom collecting on the TV screen. You could TASTE the boredom. It tastes kind of like cauliflower.
Secondly, apparently the scariest thing in the world to a New Yorker is a redneck. Because when I think of terror, I think of some guy gutting a deer. (honestly, that just makes me think of jerky). Man, I don’t know about you, but I sure do wish I could be in a nice, safe, friendly place, like Manhattan, as opposed to a very unfriendly place like Danbury, Connecticut.
At one point, we see a redneck kid, cleaning a deer, coated in blood, because you know, that’s how us hillbillies roll, always killing stuff with our blood soaked children. Not like civilized folks from Manhattan, who buy their meat prepackaged. There’s a subplot about bullet holes through the vacation home, because you know, there’s never any gunfire in New York, ‘cause that would be illegal. Whereas in Danbury, you shoot somebody’s house, the sheriff don’t care, because that’s just life out in Red State Country.
But worst of all, is the artsy shots. This movie clocked in at an hour and a half, but if you pulled out all of the slow cuts of trees, then it would have been thirty minutes. There would be a scene, then a shot of trees, more trees, drift wood, fence posts, etc, then another small scene, then some trees, some more wood, some snow, oh wait, something new, a spider web! And it went on like that for the whole movie. It actually opened to slow artsy shots of Voltron and the Wolfman. Sadly, that was the best part of the film.
The artsy shots did have one small payout. They showed a shot of a sign for Numrich Gun Parts. Shout out to my homies at Numrich. They’ve got parts for everything, good service, and prices!
They go to a convenience store, and there are art shots of toy guns, and racist cartoons of Indians (pardon me, Native Americans). Ironically the toy guns are from the ‘50s and ‘60s, which is pretty sweet, because not only when you leave the paved wonderland of New York City and travel to Hickville, you actually travel BACK IN TIME! I think the director was trying to make a comment about something, but I was so bored at this point, I just couldn’t care.
Then an Indian gives Dewey a magic totem of a Wendigo, and sums up the legend. (in time with the boy’s choir version of creepy Indian music) Note to self, if a mysterious stranger ever gives one of my kids a magic totem relating to the legend of a blood-thirsty spirit, leave the friggin’ thing there. Sorry Correia kids, no evil totem for you…
When I made the comment that I wished the rednecks would show up and kidnap and torture the family or something, not only did my wife agree (and she doesn’t approve of torture movies) she thought that having a little bit of cannibalistic redneck massacre would be a definite improvement.
Then, at over an hour into it, something happens. They go sledding! Yay! Sledding!
Only the idiot father gets accidentally shot off the sled by the scary redneck. (Remember kids, Rule #4 of gun safety, be aware of your target and its environment, comes right before Rule #5, no evil spirit totems in the house) Then stuff actually starts to happen, only to slow down for more idiotic, obnoxious art shots (moon, trees, trees, driftwood, and GASP! Blood on the snow) and then the father, even though he’s just taken a high powered rifle round to the liver, monologues for like ten straight minutes, while the wife drives the Volvo to the hospital at, I kid you not, 12 miles an hour.
Then the redneck hits the sheriff in the head with a hammer, and gets chased through the forest by a twitchy weredeer, or something, only to get hit by a car (in an oh so subtle touch) in the exact same manner as the deer that got hit by the Volvo at the beginning of the movie. Yes, film school class, that’s called FORESHADOWING!
So the father dies, and then the nurse comes out, and for some inexplicable film school reason, gives his shoes to his wife. Yes, his shoes. No, I don’t know why. Quit asking. But it does enable them to make another art shot of the shoes. Moon. Trees. Trees. Deer. Snow. Moon.
Yes, it really was that bad. And no, not in a good way. If I want art, I’ll go look at art. I don’t need somebody to hit me in the head with a hammer while screaming THIS IS ARTISTIC! ART! ART!
Look, if a movie is going to be named after a monster, then it should actually have some monster in it. If you rented a movie called ALLIGATOR! Or GIANT ANTS! Or ZOMBIE BUS DRIVER! You would expect some monster action, right? No… Not this time. You get angsty whiners, talking about how they don’t pay enough attention to their kid because they bring their work home, and dimwitted rednecks. 15 seconds of a guy in a fur suit with a deer head, and 3 seconds of some CGI branch spirit, and they never actually kill anybody? Not only no, hell no.
Screw you, director of Wendigo. No more monster movies for you.