The setting is the country plains of the western frontier, where Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard), husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) and neighbor Gideon Harper (Dylan McTee) reside. In the opening scene they are overlooking the grave of Gideon's wife Emma (Julia Goldani Telles), her body laying still in the cold ground, and missing half of her face. Only a few miles separate the homes and it is obvious something evil is lurking in the plains. A spirit of some kind is haunting these two families, and it has driven one of them to their grave. This men see this as a time to go away, hoping to stock up on supplies for the winter, leaving Lizzy alone to defend for herself against something that wants to control her.
I would not categorize The Wind as a film not worthy of your time. This is made by an extremely talented first time director in Tammi, along with a screenplay by Teresa Sutherland that highlights themes of motherhood, isolation, and the way women are treated by their male counterparts. Those are common ideas in the horror genre that typically work for me. Past movies such as The Witch, The Lords of Salem, or Rosemary's Baby all come to mind. It is the surrounding things that make The Wind lose the focus it needs.
Something that certainly failed to work for me were the cheap ways The Wind attempts at scaring its audience. Soon after the men have left the home, Lizzy is attacked by a wolf, clearly possessed by something. It's a tense moment, with Lizzy barricading herself inside, pointing her musket at the door, and firing blasts to chase the monster away. The intensity and well done nature of this scene does not match up with the lazy jump scares that occur later. Multiple moments including the return of Emma in a ghost form are just efforts to jump scare you at an unexpected moment. It never works and it's an example of the unbalance The Wind has. It wants to be stylized and saying something, while also including moments that remind me of lame January horror releases like The Bye Bye Man.
When The Wind is at its best is when the psychology of Lizzy's character comes into play. She is the films major highlight, dealing with her loneliness, her inability to bare children, and a husband that fails to believe that a spirit is haunting them. That's what makes this experience so frustrating. One can easily see why someone appreciates what The Wind has on its hand, but it makes a decision to bounce forward and backward in the story, even to the point where the audience will get whiplash, maybe even lose track of what is going on.
What I can't express enough of however, is how impressive lead Caitlin Gerard is as Lizzy. If there is one thing to take away from The Wind, it's that director Emma Tammi and Gerard are both going to make much better films in the future. The Wind is a disappointing miss, but at least it is turning me to look towards the future. Not all movies are hits and that's okay.
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: THE WIND
STARRING: CAITLIN GERARD; DYLAN MCTEE; JULIA GOLDANI TELLES; ASHLEY ZUKERMAN
DIRECTED BY: EMMA TAMMI
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
The Wind is a horror movie that has a strong story and an impressive lead performance, but does not trust itself to let those two things carry it. With added touches of a shrieking score, a back and forth narrative, and messy pacing, the positive becomes weighed down. Director Emma Tammi has strong skills, capturing the look of a western horror, it's just everything else that bugged me. That's not to say that The Wind might become better after another viewing, but for now it is just a passing breeze.