WILDLING Review – A Dark & Twisted Fairytale

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WILDLING Review by Staci Layne Wilson

WILDLING Review Werewolves have been fodder for film since the days of Lon Chaney right up to the wildly popular Twilight franchise. The idea of a perfectly rational human transforming into a bloodthirsty beast is one that’s been explored countless times, and here’s yet another: Wildling.

When kindly small-town sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler) takes in a seemingly abused 16-year-old girl called Anna (Bel Powley), she has no idea she’s in for a truly hair-raising experience. The poor child has lived her entire life locked inside a single room by a man who told her to call him “Daddy” (Brad Dourif) who, after subjecting her to a series of painful injections, shot himself before her eyes. The girl needs the love of a normal family. Ellen believes at first that Anna’s odd behavior is merely a byproduct of trauma… but it’s much more than that.

Anna eventually learns she’s what’s known as a “wildling,”  and she’s the last of her kind. One day while out exploring in the woods near Ellen’s house she meets a vagrant called The Wolf Man (James Le Gros),  and learns the secrets behind her captivity and why it is that she has begun to crave raw meat.

This darkly mystical coming-of-age story is directed and cowritten by newcomer Fritz Böhm. It’s assured and unflinching, but without Powley’s childlike, otherworldly quality and her offbeat beauty, the story wouldn’t have worked as well as it does. Tyler deserves kudos as the maternal, caring and kind woman who radiates warmth and understanding. Dourif shines as the dark, oddly well-meaning villain. Le Gros’ role is tiny, but memorable.

The creature effects are well done and used sparingly. But I should say here that Wildling is not a monster movie in the usual sense. It’s not really a horror film, either. It’s more of a Grimm style macabre fairy tale. The movie looks amazing thanks to Get Out cinematographer Toby Oliver. Eerie music comes courtesy of Paul Haslinger (Fear the Walking Dead).

On the downside, the story does start to fall apart toward the end and one character in particular does some things that are hard to believe.

Still, Wildling is a must-see for die-hard fans of dark supernatural thrillers. Others may want to proceed with caution.

WILDLING Review by Staci Layne Wilson

Rated R
1 Hour 32 minutes

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on StaciLayneWilson.com

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