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  Wind, The Blown Away
Year: 2018
Director: Emma Tammi
Stars: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Ashley Zukerman, Miles Anderson, Dylan McTee, Martin C. Patterson
Genre: Horror, WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The plains of the Old West, where only the hardiest of pioneers ventured, were sparsely populated, but Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard) and her husband Isaac (Ashley Zuckerman) braved the endless gales and dust that got everywhere to try and forge a living in a cabin right in the middle of a vast prairie. They have had neighbours, but that is an arrangement which has not ended well, with the wife Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) having blown half her head off with a shotgun belonging to Lizzy after the pressure of life apparently grew too much to bear. The worst of it is she has taken her baby with her to the grave, and Lizzy found the bodies - not only that, but she had to clean up the blood and gore left by the tragedy while her husband and Emma's spouse practically abandoned her in the middle of nowhere...

The isolation is what is driving Lizzy mad, and may have already gotten to Emma, hence her suicide, but what if there was more to it? What if the plains were home to some supernatural force that howls around the cabin, as if taking umbrage that anyone human would wish to share the same space with it? Or has Lizzy been too taken with the Gothic literature and sensationalist pamphlets breeding unquestioning superstition she has around her home and the sheer loneliness is causing her imagination to run riot when it should have been channelled into her reading matter? In truth, it was best you did not settle down to watch The Wind expecting concrete answers, for the conclusions the film drew were as insubstantial as the weather conditions it heroine must counter and interact with - and just as potentially dangerous.

Atmosphere was the key to this, and if you did not get on with immersing yourself in what was a very well-designed, spooky chiller with a novel Western setting, though not one that relied hugely on incident, then you would be wise to stay away from the meeting of minds of screenwriter Teresa Sutherland (whose short film this was based on) and director Emma Tammi, for if anything was apparent, it was that mood constructed carefully through visuals and soundscapes was paramount in the effect they desired to create. This left the acting more in service to the general impression it was intended to have on a willing audience, and it could have done with a shade more attention since the cast did not quite convince as frontier folk from the late nineteenth century, as they were a degree too modern in their respective demeanours.

They weren't glued to their smartphones or anything jarringly anachronistic, but the gestures and inflections to their voices revealed they were of the twenty-first century and not a hundred and fifty odd years before. It wasn't much, and did not ruin the experience utterly but it did betray that mood somewhat, though there were alternative pleasures to be had here, for instance how good it looked thanks to production design and cinematography, and the soundtrack was not so bad either, indicating this was not a thrown together horror cheapie, a more artistic bent was in evidence. As Lizzy has been left alone for great swathes of the plot, we see her story in terms of her increasingly fractured memories, starting with the pivotal death of her only friend at her own hands, and spiralling out from there, meaning you had to pay attention to work out what had occurred, no mean feat when the overall effect was one of a woozy, difficult to pin down nightmare. The Wind, with glancing references to the Lillian Gish silent classic of the same name, picked up a cult following, proving for some it succeeded on its own terms as a study of feminine mental mettle in unfortunate, insanity inducing circumstances. Music by Ben Lovett.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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