- 1 hr 31 min
"Wendigo" is a 2001 horror film directed by Larry Fessenden. The film follows a family that decides to take a trip to the countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The family consists of George, a successful photographer; his wife, Kim; and their young son, Miles. The couple is having some marital trouble, and this trip is seen as a way to reconnect and bond as a family. As they drive through the snowy landscape, they accidentally hit a deer and are forced to spend the night in a small town. The family is given a place to stay in an old cabin, which is located in the middle of a forest. From the very beginning, the family senses something odd about the town and the surrounding woods. Their sense of unease is heightened by the arrival of a group of hunters, who share a tense and hostile relationship with the town's residents. As the night progresses, the family hears strange noises outside the cabin, and Miles sees a strange, horned creature roaming around. The creature looks like a deer, but with horns, and is known as the "Wendigo." According to Native American folklore, the Wendigo is a malevolent spirit that possesses those who have been driven to hunger and desperation. As the story progresses, the family's fears become more and more heightened. George becomes obsessed with capturing the Wendigo on film, and Miles becomes increasingly convinced that the creature is coming for him. Meanwhile, tension continues to simmer between the hunters and the townsfolk, and a tragic incident occurs that sets off a chain of events that seems to be leading the family towards a terrible fate. One of the strengths of "Wendigo" is its strong sense of atmosphere. The rural environments are beautifully shot, with the wide expanses of snow and the creaking, wooded forests serving to create a sense of isolation and foreboding. The film's director, Larry Fessenden, is known for his focus on naturalistic, character-driven horror, and "Wendigo" is no exception. The emphasis is on the psychological tension and emotional turmoil of the characters, rather than on cheap jump scares or gore. The film also benefits from strong performances from its cast. Patricia Clarkson is particularly noteworthy as Kim, managing to convey her character's sense of growing dread and terror without resorting to histrionics. Jake Weber is also effective in portraying George's descent into obsession and madness, and young Erik Per Sullivan (best known for his role as Dewey in "Malcolm in the Middle") brings an appealing naturalism to the role of Miles. At its heart, "Wendigo" is a film about family, and how the tensions and resentments that simmer beneath the surface can be unleashed in unexpected and dangerous ways. The film's themes of grief, loss, and vengeance are all interwoven into the plot, creating a sense of emotional depth and resonance that lingers long after the credits have rolled. On the downside, some viewers may find the pacing of "Wendigo" to be slow, and the film's ambiguous ending may be frustrating to those who prefer a clear resolution. However, for those who enjoy a more atmospheric and character-driven horror experience, "Wendigo" is a rewarding and thought-provoking film that is well worth seeking out. In summary, "Wendigo" is a haunting and atmospheric horror film that benefits from strong performances, a naturalistic approach to storytelling, and a well-realized sense of dread and foreboding. While it may not be for everyone, those who appreciate a more mature and psychological approach to horror will find much to enjoy in this unsettling and thought-provoking film.