Directed by: Emma Tammi
Written by: Teresa Sutherland
Starring: Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Dylan McTee, Ashley Zuckerman
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport
“This land is funny; it plays tricks on your mind.”
Many moons ago, my partner in crime Benjamin Leonard (aka Best Boy) and I travelled to Bermuda. Little research was conducted and apparently February is not an ideal time for a visit. PICTURE IT! The weather is grim, the beach/cabanas are closed and it is extremely WINDY. Our lodging was reminiscent of The Overlook hotel in The Shining. There were peculiar noises bellowing from the hallways at all hours of the night. Half the property was in seasonal shutdown, with many of the quarters shuttered in darkness. There was only the howl of the wind to keep you company. Overall, Ben and I found our situation of isolation to be perfect, despite living in constant fear of Mr. Grady.
One main difference, besides the locations, between me being on an island and the main character Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) on the western frontier, was that I can’t speak of any supernatural occurrences. Granted, after viewing the film, I wonder if the feeling of seclusion and the tricks nature can play on the mind were the cause of Lizzy’s metaphysical encounters.
Set sometime during the late 1800s, Lizzy and her husband, Isaac (Ashley Zuckerman) find themselves on an expansive piece of land, yet in a confining circumstance. Except for a recently occupied cabin far off in the distance, the couple is alone in their thoughts, and left to find comfort in the prairie and the wind. When a young couple from the city moves near them, what initially seems as a welcoming friendship, turns quite burdensome, especially for Lizzy.
Told in a non-linear style, this is not a movie that one can turn away from and expect to be able to jump back into the story. With a run-time of little less than ninety minutes, the director is not messing around. Each minute of the film counts and serves a purpose to progress the story along. From the first scene, the viewer is thrown into the thick of it, literally. The beginning is not the beginning, however, as an opening scene, it fits the theme perfectly; things are not as they seem.
When I think back to how the film was pieced together, something I admire is how the director went with a “less is more” attitude. This is most definitely a horror movie, however, when it comes to this genre, I typically find the things the filmmaker chooses to not show me more terrifying than when they actually do. In The Wind, Lizzy, claims to be haunted by a demon - which I will now refer to as “prairie demon” - however, we never really actually see it, other than a cartoonish character on a religious card that was given to her as a warning by a Reverend when they en route in their covered wagon. For me when a director makes these types of choices, I feel they want their film to be remembered not disregarded. Within this film, the director made a choice of what she wants you to recall when you revisit her film in your mind and for me, although I didn’t physically see Lizzy cut a baby out of a woman’s body, I know that her character did indeed do this, and the idea of this is horrifying enough.
The choices of using light and shadows to depict a scare is a concept I will always get behind versus the buckets of blood. Jump scares are a cop out, a real filmmaker knows how to frighten you without even showing you. It must be mentioned that with every great film, there is most likely a good screenplay behind it. Before researching a bit about the screenwriter, Teresa Sutherland, I did learn that there was a 1928 silent film, The Wind, starring Lillian Gish with a rather similar plot. I definitely want to check this out and found it is available online here. It makes me wonder if the director or writer, used this film as a basis when making their version. Regardless, prior to The Wind, Teresa, only had two short flick writing credits to her name. Which makes this work very impressive to me as she managed to convey several meaningful messages, especially in regards to feminist ideals.
When Lizzy started informing her husband about the things she was experiencing and/or hearing, she was correlating much of the events with the night, and the wind. It was perfect that the husband’s response was simply, “Oh it is just the wind. There’s nothing there.” Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t however, it is the depiction of a woman’s place within that the society at that time (and maybe still?). The husband has an outright denial and ignorance that something may be going on with wife and it may be caused by their way of life.
Unfortunately, much of this thought process still exists today. Why haven’t people learned, you have to take those bumps in the night seriously! How many flicks have you heard, the phrase, “It’s just the wind...” or “Oh, just some night noise!”. Then it turns out to be something catastrophic, like a killer devil bat or in this case a prairie demon.