IN THE SPOOKLIGHT: THE WIND (2018)

It’s just the wind.

How many times have we heard that line before? In this case, it’s true.

Or is it?

I hadn’t heard much about THE WIND (2018), a slow burn horror flick which takes places in the 1800s western frontier, when I stumbled upon it on Netflix, so I had no idea what to expect. Usually when I pick a movie I haven’t heard of, I am disappointed. That wasn’t the case this time around. THE WIND is an exceptional horror movie.

Let me tell you about it.

THE WIND is a thinking person’s horror film, and its persistent low key style is similar to some other recent horror films, flicks like THE BABADOOK (2014), THE WITCH (2015), HEREDITARY (2018), and MIDSOMMAR (2019). Now, THE WIND wasn’t quite as disturbing as these other movies, but that didn’t stop it from getting under my skin, which it did, in the most subtle and effective of ways.

In the late 1800s, married couple Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) and Isaac Macklin (Ashley Zukerman) live in their modest farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. They have no neighbors until another young couple move into a cabin across the way, Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) and Gideon Harper (Dylan McTee). When Lizzy and Isaac invite them over, they immediately realize there is something off about the couple.

What follows is an intriguing tale which through the use of flashbacks jumps back and forth in time and chronicles the efforts of an unseen demon in the wilderness which primarily seems to affect the women. Lizzy definitely is aware of some force haunting them, but Isaac tells her it is just her imagination. This demon wants to force them off the land and also has a keen interest in their unborn children. This combined with Emma’s eccentric behavior and unusual interest in Isaac creates a wedge between the two women and complicates the couples’ relationships, while seemingly fueling the demon’s actions. And it all leads to violence, bloodshed, and death.

By far, my favorite part of THE WIND was the way it was shot by director Emma Tammi. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, and there are some truly hauntingly framed scenes which really resonate. THE WIND may not be scary, but it is so, so haunting, which is exactly the way a slow burn horror movie should be.

The screenplay by Teresa Sutherland is smart and effective. The way it frames its story…is it really a demon? Or is it just inside Emma’s mind?… works well, as it keeps the audience guessing all the way down to the final shot of the movie. The dialogue is lean and efficient. There are lots of spots in the film where no one talks. Where you just hear the wind. The film also uses sound winningly. The wind becomes a character in the movie just by our hearing it.

Caitlin Gerard is excellent in the lead role as Lizzy Macklin. She exudes strength and endurance and is the perfect character to suddenly find herself facing a demon in the wilderness. And later when doubts begin to seep in, when one begins to wonder if it really is just Lizzy’s mind playing tricks on her, Gerard is more than up to the task of capturing the self-doubts the woman endures. It’s a mesmerizing performance by Gerard. She really does bring the audience inside Lizzy’s head, making you feel like you too are alone on the prairie, hearing and seeing strange things in the wind in the middle of the night.

Ashley Zukerman is stoic and strong as Lizzy’s husband Isaac. For the most part, Isaac is there for his wife and supports her, except when he leaves her alone for an extended period of time to conduct some business. While he’s gone, the film really plays up Lizzy’s feelings of isolation.

Julia Goldani Telles is cold and weird as Emma Harper. She is certainly the creepiest human character in the movie. There’s just something about her personality that’s off putting and gets under one’s skin, like the entire movie does.

Dylan McTee plays Emma’s husband Gideon, and he’s also an odd one. And Miles Anderson makes his mark in a small role as a travelling reverend.

All in all, THE WIND is a satisfying low key thriller that takes its time unsettling its audience. It tells a tale of isolation, horror, and maybe even madness, as one woman squares off against haunting forces which seem to everyone but herself to be simply sounds in the wind.

—END–

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