Wounds is a scary Lovecraftian breakup story descending into hell.
Wounds a weird fiction horror film with Lovecraftian and occult elements but with a somewhat difficult storyline. Its nihilistic style can come across as a little bit tedious, but it’s a slowly developing story about a break up seen though the perspective of a shallow man. Due to an unreliable and not very likable main character and told through a specific genre this film won’t be liked by everyone.
It’s an impressionistic nightmare with little explanation but with expressive body horror. Dreams and hallucinations make the viewer disoriented and confused and seem to lead nowhere.
Although the underlying theme of this film is a difficult break up, this film is also about a man who is looking for the meaning of life, for something more tangible and real, enlightenment even, it’s a philosophical theme that can be recognizable to viewers. And for those who really love this genre it’s a real treat.
Bartender Will has a relationship with his girlfriend Carrie, but feels attracted to a regular customer named Alicia. He is jealous of her boyfriend Jeffrey and wants Alicia all for himself. He’s a surfer on the waves of life and alcohol and not very likable although handsome. His life changes radically when a group of students leave a cell phone behind which leaves strange and gruesome messages. Will becomes entangled in an occult web of horror and nightmares.
Why you should watch it
This film is not for everyone. You have to like the weird fiction genre and be prepared to be committed to the story. It unfolds slowly and in a confusing way, and has no explicit explanation at the end. It’s up to the viewer what to make of it. If you like being challenged, and if you are willing to watch a film that demands your attention, this film can be very rewarding in the end. However you also have to make your own conclusions at the end, which can be achieved by watching carefully how the plot unravels.
But in essence the film is about a breakup, or the path that leads to a breakup. It’s about a man who is more of a shell of a man, instead of a wholly complete person. And his struggle with both this breakup and his personal issues.
The pace is slow but steady and reveals the Lovecraftian horror in a nightmarish and sometimes almost subliminal way. The atmosphere is uncanny and disturbing and creepy at times. His delusions, nightmares and hallucinations are the core elements of the visible horror, while the invisible horror lies purely with himself and in the physical and metaphorical wounds of himself and others. It’s a very scary and at times gruesome experience.
It’s a story that gets under your skin quite literally while cockroaches crawl everywhere. It’s a perfect example of a modern weird fiction horror story and excels in the weirdness and mystery that surrounds it. The superficial characters are well played and an important element of the story. Will’s character defines the plot and is intertwined with the whole story. The characters can be hard to watch sometimes for their shallowness. Everything in this film has a function and like the black tunnel it sucks you in.
My favorite part
I really liked the ending. It’s ambiguous and can be frustrating because it refuses to explain itself. Will’s whole being is finally fully submerged with the plot in an open ended conclusion. Finally and ironically he is really connected. That is what weird fiction is supposed to be, a surreal experience that asks question but lets the viewers answer them for themselves. It may not be an easy watch but it is definitely a film which allows itself to be discussed.
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
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Cast and crew
Wounds is based on the book The Invisible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud. It’s directed and written by Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow, 2016). It stars Armie Hammer (Will), Dakota Johnson (Carrie) and Zazie Beetz (Alicia).
Duration: 95 minutes. Cinematography: Kit Fraser. Edited by: Chris Barwell. Produced by: Babak Anvari, Christopher Kopp, Lucan Toh. Production companies: Annapurna Pictures, Two & Two Pictures, AZA Films. Distributed by: United Artists Releasing, Netflix.