FrightFest review – WindWalkers

Wind Walkers

Wind Walkers

Wind Walkers This is an Evil Dead-style cabin in the woods movie, with an outbreak of possession among a small group of young folks, but it takes a fairly sober, downbeat approach and links the evil to various historical and contemporary abuses, from the white man’s co-option of Native American lands and mistreatment of nature to the post-traumatic-stress disorder suffered by veterans of recent wars.  Set in the Florida Everglades, it follows a mixed group who go into the wilderness on a regular hunting trip and are beset by one of their friends, Native Amercian Jake Kingston (Kiowa Gordon), who has either gone mad or become possessed by a ‘wind walker’ and is now tracking and killing them, passing on the curse with his bite and even transforming his own father (J. LaRose) into a monster.  It has credible, low-key character interplay from a decent, mostly unfamiliar cast and doesn’t oversell its Native American mysticism outside of top-and-tail to-camera doom-laden talks by a wise tribal elder who evokes the shamans endemic to eco-horror movies like Nightwing, Prophecy and Death Curse of Tartu (another Florida epic, of which this could almost be a very po-faced remake).  However, it’s still a rather predictable storyline and the unsensationalist approach perhaps undermines its attempts to be scary or exciting (it also has an odd structure which includes the dreaded ‘three days earlier’ post-prologue caption, though it’s not quite clear where we came in when we get to it).  Towards the finale, when the group is whittled down and the Big Bad becomes more formidable, it does work harder on the horror stuff.  It might be influenced by Larry Fessenden, though Fessenden is more confident in combining eco-message, subtle indie character stuff and monster movie melodrama.  Written and directed by Russell Friedenberg, whose previous works (Among Ravens, Ibid) have also been fringe genre pieces more interested in character and state-of-the-nation addresses than conventional thrills or laughs.


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