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  • Rev Horror

The Windigo

Dir. Gabe Torres (2024)

A Native American teen links himself with an ancient demon to protect his family. Unsurprisingly, things go awry.

The Wendigo (or Windigo) is a fascinating legend, an embodiment of greed and gluttony that is never satiated as it goes on its hunt for human flesh. Many cultures around the world have myths of demonic creatures, but I can't imagine a whole lot more terrifying than living off the land, with no technology or protection, and being hunted by one of these gaunt and hungry monsters. Today's film, The Windigo, deals with one of these creatures in a unique way, bringing in the Native American Ojibwe tribe to update the ghastly being to a modern story.

Ry (Marco Fuller), his sister Bree (Fivel Stewart), and their mother Claire (Tonantzin Carmelo) are moving in with their grandmother after the death of the kids' father. After being accosted by some local meth dealers, Ry eventually harnesses the power of the Windigo in an effort to protect his family from their efforts to drive them off their land. The Windigo is hungry, however, and his hunger cannot be slated. Ry finds himself at the mercy of the being that now possesses him, and the family now finds itself with a new, ancient evil to fight for survival.

The Windigo is a film with a lot of shortcomings, most noticeably a plot that drags throughout and rarely has a lot to say. It doesn't pick up in earnest for quite a while, though when it does there are certainly some scenes worth watching. The acting is decent, though nothing to write home about, but it's good enough to work for the most part. The camerawork is fine, but again, just fairly stereotypical horror flick cinematography. It felt like a film that may have done better had it stuck with its ancient roots, and the scene at the beginning showing the Windigo as it haunts an early Native American tribe is creepy and incredibly well-done. Had they gone the direction of Prey, they really could've had something stellar here.

The real star of the show is the Windigo itself. Played by Troy James, who has previously played monsters in films like The Void, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Anything for Jackson (which is hugely underrated), the Windigo in this film is legit freaky as hell and exceptionally dangerous looking. The connections between the creature and its ward are tenuous but fairly well done, giving Ry a look through the creature's eyes while in a dreamlike half-awake state. It is a hard concept to pull off visually, but the film largely does so without breaking a sweat.

While The Windigo definitely has its issues, it's a largely entertaining film with some excellent gore and some great creature effects. For fans of monster movies in general or socially-themed horror, it's definitely one that you won't want to miss. It's slow going at times, but it's worth it for the eventual payoff. If you don't mind a little slow burn with your monster movie, this is one you'll definitely want to check out.

Who this movie is for: Monster movie lovers, Scary creature fans, Dreamcatcher salesmen

Bottom line: The Windigo is perhaps too slow and leans too heavily into other films that have come before, but it's got a truly gnarly creature with some great kills. Slow burn isn't always bad, however, and the payoff is eventually there. If you wanna see a monster flick with a bit of social critique thrown in for good measure, give this one a watch. It's streaming now on Amazon Prime.

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