Friday, November 11, 2016

The Windmill is More of a Butcher Shop: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Mongrel Media.

**there are a few minor spoilers here.

Director: Nick Jongerius.

Writers: Nick Jongerius, Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid.

Cast: Noah Taylor, Charlotte Beaumont, Patrick Baladi, Adam Thomas Wright and Ben Batt.

Nick Jongerius' first feature film was initially titled The Windmill Massacre. In the United States and Canadian markets, the film has been renamed to the much more placid The Windmill. Jongerius bloody trip to the Netherlands, involves an ancient urban legend. Several morally corrupt holidaymakers are set to interact with the killer in this urban legend, first hand. And, The Windmill relies on a Catholic morality, in which sinners must be punished. This is the Old Testament though, so there is no forgiveness on the horizon, for anyone. Then, characters face a supernatural villain. Everything favours this burned and scarred killer. And, The Windmill is often entertaining, thanks to its ghostly setting and dire scenarios. Horror fans will find lots of bloody goodness in this upcoming Canadian outing.

The story begins with Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont). She is on the run, from Australia. Hiding out in the Red Light district of the Netherlands, she finds escape on and old holiday bus. The character Jack (Ben Batt) is also on the run, from the previous night's festivities. Nicholas (Noah Taylor) is not much of a coke-fueled surgeon, while Takashi (Tanroh Ishida) has likely killed his Grandmother. All of these characters and a few more are on this bus for one murderous reason, or another. And, there are few stops, on the way to Hell!

The mythos of the story, from a trio of writers, is based on Catholic ideology. There is the mention of Hell and Hell's gatekeeper. Meanwhile, many of the characters are called sinners, by the world's worst tour guide. Except, this is not New Testament material. The film is going back a few thousand years, to the times of Abraham. And, "an eye for an eye" is the order of the day. Few characters can find any sort of redemption and definitely no forgiveness as the Miller (Kenan Raven) goes about his gruesome work. There is only one character, called "an innocent," who is too young to be capable of mortal sin. He manages to find his way to the final act. The rest are just bloodspray.

There is one problem when the central villain is of a supernatural origin; he cannot be killed. This hellspawn has already been killed, once. Earlier, it is described how a miller made a deal with the Devil. But, the local villagers were not happy with their corpse-infused bread. So, they set the miller alight, only for this character to return, under the Devil's protection. If the central villain has been killed once before and returned, can he really be killed at all? Readers and viewers will know the answer to this question. Thus, the characters must play their part, before being chopped down like cordwood. The more physical characters can never hope to overpower a supernatural foe.

Still, The Windmill is an enjoyable midnight viewing. Writers Nick Jongerius, Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid have created a devilish playground, from in which the characters discover their fates. An old windmill turns and turns in the ghostly air. Meanwhile, a Grim Reaper-like character is stalking the grounds. He creates hallucinations just before going in for the kill. The gore onscreen is plentiful as characters lose limbs, or more importantly their head. There is a shocking finale, involving a chain and fire. And, The Windmill plays out much like haunted amusement ride, just with a few less bumps and scrapes.

The Windmill is currently scouring the world for more victims. The film is set for a mid-November release in Canada, via Mongrel Media. Other territories, have already started the slaughter. This film fan enjoyed Act I, where the characters are developed. Their backstories are each very dark. In Act II, the slaughter begins. And, by Act II, there is hardly anyone left on the screen, before the credits roll. The Windmill pulls no punches and horror fans should pick up a copy of this hellish film. Though, viewers should not pray for a happy ending in this one, because the Devil's scythe will just mock you.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

The Canadian launch trailer, for The Windmill: The Windmill Trailer on 28DLA

Release details for the film, at Mongrel Media: The Windmill at Mongrel Media

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