“A plains-woman faces the harshness and isolation of the untamed land in the Western frontier of the late 1800s.”

Director: Emma Tammi
Writer: Teresa Sutherland
Staring: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Ashley Zukerman, Dylan McTee
Release Date: April 5, 2019
Streaming: Netflix

Isolation can be a dangerous thing and that is what The Wind (2018) illustrates. Lizzy Macklin, played by Caitlin Gerard (who looks remarkably like Blake Lively), has to battle the madness of demons and self doubt in the winds of the turbulent wild west. She is often left alone without her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman), and the introduction of new neighbors puts undo weight and leads to unexpected events that anchor down Lizzy.

The strongest part of The Wind is the atmosphere and landscape of the movie. The desolation, the isolation, the emptiness. Everything about the wild west is terrifying and the mile walk between neighbors seems like a marathon with the terrors Lizzy encounters. The blank canvas going out in every direction acts like a vice grip, creating a sense of claustrophobia even when nothing is around.

Emma Tammi directed The Wind and its her first major motion fiction work. She does have a directing credit for the podcast The Left RIght Game and if it is anything like the horror and terror genre that she is infused here, then I may have to check it out. It was impressive to see what Tammi created with a small space and a small cast. It’s a short story but its theme is large and she does a good job of spotlighting that often frightening idea of being a small fish in a big pond.

The Wind also needs to rely heavily on the performance of Gerard as Lizzy. She has the most alone time in the movie and she does a remarkable job keeping the audience engaged when her enemies are just shadows for the majority of the movie. She starts out with the confidence that nothing elemental is happening, and by the end its the confidence that she has to confront it head on. It is a tragic confidence because it results in distress and a oh-so unpleasant ending that I love so much.

Also crazy thing about Gerard is that while she is primarily a horror actress now, she did have one crazy appearance in the movie Magic Mike (2012). Gerard played Kim, the young bride-to-be that Mike (Channing Tatum) and Adam (Alex Pettyfer) visit as police officers. Just a super small world and a role that I never thought I would look up and encounter with.

In terms of negative aspects in The Wind, I only have one nitpick. When the reverend comes back to Lizzy at night in a panic, it is obvious that something is afoot. It is far too convenient of a plot point for a relatively abstract movie, so alarm bells are going off. The demon lets its identity known to Lizzie a bit too early for the threatening atmosphere to really choke you. A classic slip-of-the tongue (though through the context it seems purposeful by the demon) is a classic “oh damn” moment but the uneasiness rubber doesn’t meet the road.

The Wind reminds me how much I really enjoy the Western Horror genre. Bone Tomahawk (2015) is the best I have seen, but now I need to delve deeper into the genre.

In the end, The Wind is a well crafted psychological thriller that uses solid-enough performances and an above-average sense of space and atmosphere to rise above the rim of median.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.0/5 Stars)

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