In this supernatural western set in the 1800s, a young woman is haunted by her past and, possibly, a demon while she reminisces about times gone by while her husband is away.
Directed by Emma Tammi, The Wind is an assured debut and, although it may not be so admired by those that like their horror more extreme, it is a welcome difference from popular modern horrors like It, Annabelle and Pet Sematary. Tammi follows in the footsteps of directors like Robert Eggers and Ari Aster, preferring her horror to stand the test of time, rather than embrace short and sweet moments of shock.
This is certainly a horror film more reminiscent of The Witch than The Conjuring, so don’t expect there to be jump scares galore on anything extremely, overtly frightening. This film’s horror lies in its eerie atmosphere and the sense of loneliness that is felt by Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard). Her isolation is filled with dread as there is literally nobody around. She can scream and run, but there’s no one here to help her. It’s immediately, easily scary to place yourself in her position and imagine what you would do if your husband disbelieved your fears that feel so real.
It’s a slow-burning, complex horror-drama that weaves seamlessly between the past and present as Lizzy remembers her time spent with the pregnant Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) whilst she is alone. She is soon haunted by whispering voices that travel on the wind and begins to believe there is a demon after her. The film’s moments of physical terror are quite impressive, feeling like a welcome explosion in the film’s subtle darkness. A moment with the reverend is a stand-out; if a little over-the-top for a film that has been so consistently slow and steady.
It’s all set to a score that is wonderfully menacing and puts a horrifying twist on the music typically heard in westerns. The desolate landscape becomes drenched by sinister strings that heighten the film’s suspense, perfectly mimicking Lizzy’s descent into possible madness. Her journey is an emotional and heart-felt one, ultimately portraying a woman’s fight to be believed and Gerard does well to embody the necessary amount of emotion and strength needed to convey such an important character.
The Wind is a worthy take on western-horror, but my main fear is that it is overall rather forgettable. It doesn’t quite manage to pack the long-standing and chilling punch that it so admirably tries to land and doesn’t hit the horrifying heights of the aforementioned The Witch or Ari Aster’s efforts with Hereditary and Midsommar. The Wind is a spooky 80 minutes, but it eventually succumbs to cliched horror tropes and that prevents it from being truly significant.