Paranoia, isolation and ancient evil stalks the wilderness of the plains in debut feature director Emma Tammi’s atmospheric homesteader horror The Wind.  

Living alone in the middle of nowhere, still haunted by the tragic death of their infant son, pioneers Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) and Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) cautiously welcome the arrival of newlyweds Gideon (Dylan McTee) and Emma (Julia Goldani Telles), who’ve come to work the neighbouring farm, the twinkling lights of their cabin a reassuring night-time presence in the ocean of the dark prairie.

They seem nice, even if Gideon’s not the handiest of frontiersman and Emma’s less than enthusiastic about the splendid isolation they live in. But as the months wear on and the pregnant Emma becomes increasingly delusional, convinced a demonic entity stalks the plains outside their cabins at night, Lizzy starts to suspect that perhaps Gideon may not be the baby’s father. And sometimes, while menaced by terrors both real and imagined, Lizzy fancies she too can hear the demon in the howl of the incessant wind whipping around the meagre sanctuary of the farm…

From its opening scenes with a blood splattered Lizzy battling to save a dead, near headless Emma’s baby, tragedy and foreboding stalks The Wind, Tammi and screenwriter Teresa Sutherland creating a cloying sense of dread, their script unfolding in a leisurely, non-linear fashion teasing the audience even as it teases out the story, the sense of dislocation, of disorientation, serving to unanchor the viewer, casting the viewer as adrift in time and reality as Lizzy – What just happened? When did it happen? Was that real? Or imagined? – cinematographer Lyn Moncrief’s spare framing serving to heighten the paradoxical claustrophobia of the wide open spaces of the Western plains. 

The cast are uniformly good and while Zukerman and McTee are strong as the stoic but largely ineffectual men and Goldani Telles’ is excellent as the petulant, increasingly hysterical Emma, the film belongs to Gerard as the icy, slowly unravelling Lizzy, grief and loneliness nibbling away at her, the isolation stealing her sanity in increments.

Dark, eerie, unnerving and suffused with a skin-crawling sense of dread, The Wind is how The Witch may have turned out had it been directed by John Ford.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: The Wind
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