Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Nick Jongerius
Cast: Noah Taylor, Charlotte Beaumont, Patrick Baladi
When all is said and done, 2016 is going to be another year remembered as a middling to decent year for the genre, at best. But, as it’s been over the last five solid, consecutive years, there are a wealth of great horror films seeing release. Sadly, they don’t stand out like they used to, because there are so many more active filmmakers turning out thoughtful, refined efforts at a frenzied rate. It’s tough to keep track of everything noteworthy. In 2016 we’re seeing stunning works like The Windmill hit the market, but even a picture of this impressive caliber stands to find itself bunched into a broad, less defined or memorable bunch, to some degree – criminal, degree, it should be said – and that’s not a testament to a weak film genre, it’s quite the opposite. We’re seeing so many awesome movies land in our laps that it can be a legitimate challenge to remember them.
Thinking I’m out of my gourd?
This year, which still has two-plus months to bring us treasures, has already given us awesome movies like the spirited micro-flick with grimy shine, Clowntown, or the near perfect and deeply disturbing Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla, which finally arrived stateside after a painfully long wait. Maybe you remember that just a month or so ago Fede Alvarez dropped the satisfyingly savage heist-gone-horrifically-wrong flick, Don’t Breathe. Fresh face, David F. Sandberg made a memorable arrival with Lights Out. The Conjuring 2 was, realistically, a lot more impressive than most anticipated. I’m still traumatized by the trek through Hell known as Baskin. Bite was beautifully revolting. Edge of Winter is an amazingly ideal mix of thriller and human horror. Flytrap came out of nowhere. The Funhouse Massacre was true B-movie brilliance. Fare was a non-existent budget stretched and molded into painfully realistic horror with a twist. Honeymoon ended up being a shockingly violent foreign affair.
Trust me when I say I’m only scratching the surface.
And this has been the trend for a half decade without missing a beat. For the love of valuable time, I won’t sit and list the highlights of every year since 2011 – that’s an article all itself.
The point is, the genre is alive and kicking like never before.
It’s time we start accepting the fact that the days of listing 10 great films in a calendar year are gone. It’s time we just start recognizing awesome flicks, even if each year leaves 30 of them on our doorsteps.
The Windmill deserves to be remembered as something special. On the surface it’s just another slasher flick. Underneath the first few layers it’s an intelligent supernatural tale with an onslaught of jaw dropping scenes in waiting, a new villain who not only has the potential to be the bad guy of a brand new franchise for many films to come, he gets a future all started for him, perfectly aligned within a single picture. The practical special effects are absolutely bad ass and the graphic sequences showcase some ingenuity while testing the strength of the stomach.
Loaded with great characters, amazing performers (this is a top notch foreign ensemble) and inspired ideas, there are very few areas to pick at. There may be a total of 5 seconds of CGI that was decent but not unparalleled. That’s not much of a complaint, if we’re being real here.
The simple fact is this: The Windmill is a far more entertaining flick than the majority of others out there, and given the quality of recent films, that’s a hefty compliment. A bit like the great Severance, The Windmill is another example of superb storytelling and highly rewarding “big moments” from an insanely promising foreign filmmaker in Nick Jongerius. This is a brave flick that isn’t afraid to kick you in the nuts before slashing you into pieces. And you’re more likely to love it than not.
Check this one out, it’s available on iTunes, and hits limited theaters this Friday. Between you and I, wait for Friday – you’ve got to see this on the big screen!