One of The Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness offerings is a double genre collision mashup on the high prairie.
It’s a rare bird, the horror western. They just don’t happen very often. Recently, we’ve gotten Dallas Sonnier’s gory Bone Tomahawk, and you also have… um… well… Billy the Kid vs. Dracula? Grim Prairie Tales? The Valley of Gwangi? Maybe Jonah Hex? Well, there will be a new film to join this very small fraternity, and that’s Emma Tammi’s directorial debut with The Wind, which premiered at TiFF as one of the few horror movies on the slate.
You can see the influence of some of the somber contemporary fare like The Witch or the Babadook come into play with this picture. Life in the windswept great plains as an early pioneer woman can be a very lonely, and maddening ordeal. Caitlyn Gerrard plays Lizzy Macklin, a frontierswoman, new to the prairie, and often left to fend for herself as her husband goes off on cowboy-like duty. The wolves are assertive in this untamed territory, and the wind is incessant, suggesting a more malign influence borne in the weather. So, yes, stir crazy might be in play here.
I hope the movie succeeds, as these are two genres that really could work well together. The isolation and silence of life on the Frontier. The threats of wild animals, let alone ghosts, or bandits is pervasive. It also places you at a time with limited communication and firepower. All ingredients to throw the battle of protagonist and antagonist towards the scales of horror.
The Wind is rated [R], and has not yet received a wide release window announced yet.