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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.32%
Worth A Look: 2.44%
Pretty Bad: 34.15%
Total Crap: 19.51%

4 reviews, 17 user ratings

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by iF Magazine

"Sure to piss off both the art house and horror crowd."
3 stars

Whatís scarier: an arty horror film or a horror art film? Thatís the question raised by WENDIGO a very grainy, very flashy, horror drama loosely based on the Native American creature Wendigo. No, not Winebago, that would be the fear of buying an American car. Wendigo, legend has it, is "a fearsome beast, half-man, half-deer, endowed with mythic powers to devour everything in its path." Everything that is except plot holes, silly effects and a start and stop narrative.

Written and directed by occasional indie actor Larry Fessenden (MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR, ANIMAL FARM), and part time director (THE HABIT), WENDIGO starts as a city vs. urban struggle. On a snowy day in upstate New York we meet a family of three on vacation. 1) Dad, an advertising exec who just canít shake his nine to five job off on weekends (Jake Weber, a perfect looking obnoxious yuppie you might recall from THE CELL and U-571). 2) Mom, a dotting modern woman given to four lettered outbursts (Patricia Clarkson the shrill actress from THE GREEN MILE and THE PLEDGE) and 3) Son, an 8-year-old who has flights of fancy (Erik Per Sullivan, the youngest kid from TVís MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE).

They think theyíve left the big bad city and trouble behind, of course theyíre dead wrong. Before you can say STRAW DOGS takes a vacation, dad gets into it with three deer hunters who seem to have lost an audition to play the hill folk in DELIVERANCE.

Of course Dad doesnít really want to fight (like Hoffman in DOGS) and mom just wants to get to the cabin and have some serious down time. But when their son picks up a Wendigo totem from a mysterious Native American (are there any other kind in movies?), things start getting scary. The kid can see things others canít and heís named Miles, get it?

So anyway, the hick is mad at urban dad, dad is mad at Madison Avenue and Wendigo is mad at being portrayed so silly. In bringing WENDIGO(and the films foreboding style to fore), Feseenden uses every modern trick in the book. But not all the jump cuts, frame skipping and time lapse photography can make up for how silly a man running around in a deer suit looks.

Shot on Super-16 and blown up to 35mm, the picture ranges from arty intriguing to arty obtuse (I havenít seen this much grain since BLAIR WITCH). Not without its scary moments and creepy atmosphere, WENDIGO is sure to piss off both the art house and horror crowd. And for that alone youíve got to admire Fessenden for trying. -- Paul Zimmerman

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originally posted: 05/06/01 05:26:32
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2016 Boston Underground Film Festival For more in the 2016 Boston Underground Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell eerie but cheap effects almost sink it 3 stars
8/07/07 Johnny Spooky enough at first, there ended up being no pay-off, aside from some ho-hum effects. 2 stars
9/25/05 Total Crap CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! This is at the bottom with Fear of the Dark. 1 stars
9/22/05 tatum A horror flick dressed in artsy-fartsy robes; BORING! 1 stars
11/08/04 da hood this is hands down the most borgin movie i have ever seen. worse than GRIND!!!!!! 1 stars
10/15/04 Don Eckert Not Scary. No point to the movie. Just an absolute waste of time. 1 stars
6/21/04 Samuel It wasn't really scary, but it was a decent movie. 3 stars
3/24/04 mark louis baumgart dull, sleep inducing, tedious, what a waste 1 stars
2/11/04 aranthorn from Wow, terrible, absolutely the worst 1 stars
2/06/04 jimmy d i was raped by a wendigo! 5 stars
2/03/04 ghost wast of rental fees 1 stars
10/14/03 Jim Supernatural element seems out of place. Wendigoes in the Catskills? Try the Arctic. 3 stars
12/24/02 Uncle Salty Don't waste your time. 2 stars
2/13/02 Daniel dire 1 stars
11/02/01 ryan werner beautifully mysterious, super creepy. 5 stars
5/07/01 Dean Very good film for those with a brain and patience 4 stars
5/04/01 zenny Intense and disturbing. 5 stars
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  13-Feb-2002 (R)



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