Wendigo (2001) Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
A friend of mine suggested this 2001 movie for me to checkout and it was an easy enough sell. I like B Movies and Wendigos have a ton of interesting Mythology behind them. Making them prime for horror movies in general, but was eager to see what kind of B Movie someone came up with. Lets dive in and see if the suggestion was worthwhile shall we.
We open with a family of three, Husband George, Wife Kim, and young son Miles, were traveling up a winding Mountain Road when they hit a deer. As the Dad got out to check on the damage. A group of three hunters came rushing up in search of said deer. Being that they had been chasing it for eighteen hours and end up Mercy Killing the deer. Much to Kim chagrin. Not liking it happening so close to her already shaken up son. Getting her calmed and back in the car. George calls a tow truck which will take a half hour, but the lead hunter Otis is upset because they broke the deer’s antlers. Which will cost him money because of it. His buddies calm him down, but they wait with the dead deer facing them ion their truck till the tow truck gets their and then they quickly help them. Despite George telling them not to, but they get on their way to the cabin. Where George finds a bullet in the wall, but plays it off to not worry Miles. Who is really shaken up by the deer dying. After an altercation where Otis drives by them cutting firewood. They finally get Miles calmed enough to go to bed, but we see Otis hadn’t gone anywhere and is watching them from the window. The next day, Miles gets a small wooden figure from a Native American man who tells him a tale of the Wendigo. A spirt that can move and fly like a storm. That eats because of it’s insatiable appetite and will only get bigger and hungrier the more it eats and this is about a good place to leave it for now.
This was a slow burn of a movie with several flaws. First you spend a lot of time with the family to build up emotional ties to them, but George is largely unlikeable. Miles is fine I guess, but is lackluster during the climax. Kim would have been a better character to work with but never really gets to do anything noteworthy. You get a meaningful twist with Otis, but it isn’t handled right in the least and than you get to the biggest issue with the story and the fact that what they present as a Wendigo, isn’t a Wendigo.
Wendigo are humans that have turned into monsters through cannibalism. What they got here, is a spirit that seeks revenge on Otis through the totem Miles has. If presented like that, this would have been something a lot better. Could have found Native American Lore on avenging spirits and tailored the story better to that then manipulating a creature to fit a story that it doesn’t belong in. Costume didn’t even really look good. It might be a nitpick, but it is more than that. Would be like going into a movie where they tell you all about vampires, tell you it is a vampire, but it is really a zombie.
I try not to bash low budget movies for special affects or camera work, but it is especially bad here. You get so many images flashing and flipping through in front of you that a feel like they are just trying to increase the run time. Get random shaky cam shots of trees or just bizarre sequences that fail at building suspense in an way.
Patricia Clarkson was pretty good as Kim. She brought out the strengths of being a shrink who is a loving Mother and wife. Doesn’t really does much in the climax beside be handed George’s shoes after he died. Which didn’t make much sense and made even less by the fact she just leaves them in the middle of the hall for Miles to find, but there had to be some positives here and Patricia is the closest you are going to get.
What is funny is Larry Fessenden, who wrote and directed this, would go on to work on the screenplay for Until Dawn. A much better Wendigo story that does have similarities to this. If you really want to experience a Wendigo story. Skip this and play that and there are far better slow burn B Movies. So save your time and check out something else.
Sorry for the negativity. I hope you enjoyed all the same and…
Thank You for reading.