An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at 2019’s The Wind
Isolated in the 19th century American Frontier, a husband and wife welcome new neighbors but soon something demonic threatens both families.
Is it Scary?
The Wind has a few jump scares and several unsettling scenes displaying the aftermath of violence. There’s also a lingering creepiness to the movie that makes those few jump scares extremely effective. While this isn’t anywhere close to scariest movie you’ll ever see, you definitely won’t forget the one or two jumps you have while watching it. I watched it twice and some jump scares still got me the second time.
In the end you’ll leave the movie scared but you won’t be terrified for the long-term unless you’re living in an isolated area with no internet, electricity, or neighbors for miles but if that’s the case you’re probably not watching many movies or even reading this right now.
The film opens with two men, Gideon and Isaac (played by Dylan McTee and Ashley Zukeman) waiting outside of a house with only the sound of rushing wind heard. A woman, Lizzy (played by Caitlin Gerard), exits the house covered in blood and holding a baby wrapped in a blanket. Gideon takes the baby, walks off-screen, and we get confirmation the baby is dead when we hear his screams echo in the background.
We cut to Lizzy bathing, brushing off the blood as Isaac, her husband, walks in and places a shotgun down in a nearby room. Lizzy stares at the gun for an uncomfortable amount of time and we hard cut to a woman, Emma (played by Julia Goldani Yelles), in a coffin with half her head gone. It’s pretty clear Emma’s head was blown off by the shotgun and that it really shouldn’t be an open casket situation.
Gideon places the baby in the casket before he and Isaac lower it into a nearby grave. A little while later Isaac is preparing to go into town with Gideon on horseback to help him sell his home. Before he leaves, Lizzy points out that Emma had her gun and questions how she got it. Isaac tells her to keep “her wits” and that he’ll be back in a few days.
Lizzy enters the house and starts to clean the bloody table. In a flashback to the prior night we see Lizzy was awoken by Isaac yelling for her, demanding they get the baby out. It appears Emma killed herself and Lizzy cut her open in a futile attempt to save the baby.
Later Lizzy is hanging up linens outside and as she looks around we see just how isolated the home is. Placing another blanket up, she hears growling nearby and sees a pair of wolves have shown up to keep her company.
Lizzy runs back into the house narrowly avoiding being wolf dinner. The wolves bash into the door attempting to break in with one breaking off a bottom piece of the door. As it shoves its mouth through the hole, Lizzy strikes him with a metal ladle until it leaves.
Moments later, the wolves ram the door again but Lizzy crawls over to her shotgun and shoots at them through the door. The sounds stop and we see the wolf shadows disappear but a moment later, a growling shadow reappears, except this shadow is way too big to be a wolf.
Lizzy shoots through the door again and the thing leaves. She prepares another shot and aims at the door. We cut to a flashback of Lizzy feeding the chicken and sheep when Isaac arrives and informs her that they have new neighbors. Lizzy is extremely excited and asks what they’re like. Isaac says they’re funny but he doesn’t mean in the haha way since he doesn’t look like he’s laughed in years. Also he informs Lizzy that he’s invited them for dinner.
At dinner, we see the neighbors are Gideon Harper and Emma Harper with her head still in one piece. She’s also not pregnant so this flashback has to take place around 6-9 months prior to her death.
Gideon compliments Lizzy on the food and says she’ll need to give Emma a lesson in preparing a decent meal, so it’s pretty surprising he’s the one still alive in the present. Emma shoots him a look and Isaac attempts to break the awkwardness by talking about their move. He tells them they have a lot to do before winter as far as fixing up their home and setting up the farm.
Gideon seems inexperienced with the whole farm life and Emma gives him a “we’re fucked” look, but Isaac and Lizzy offer to help with anything they need. Later as the women wash the dishes, Emma asks how many people are in the area. Lizzy says with them around, that makes four.
Back in the present Lizzy steps out of the cabin with her shotgun in hand and sees the wolves killed a sheep. Returning inside, she washes her hands and adds some balm to a cut on her finger. She then lays down in bed with her shotgun in hand.
We flashback to Emma and Lizzy running back to the cabin from a sudden downpour. Inside, Isaac sits in a rocking chair, smoking a pipe and is clearly bothered by something. Emma starts asking questions about their lives and asks why after 8 years of marriage they don’t have children. Before Lizzy can answer Isaac says “it wasn’t the lord’s will.”
Emma apologizes for being nosy and claims the rain makes her ‘restless’. She then shares a weird, little bit too long, glance with Isaac and he looks away in, what I think is, shame. That night after Lizzy and Isaac have sex, they look out their front door and discuss their new neighbors.
We learn that Lizzy and Isaac used to live in a city but moved out there some time ago. While Lizzy is happy they have neighbors she’s also not accustomed to neighbors not being strangers.
Back in the present, a storm has rolled in and Lizzy wakes up dizzy. After throwing up outside, she rushes in and takes several pills from an unmarked glass bottle. Taking a seat by some nearby linens, she falls asleep trembling.
In another flashback, we see Lizzy and Isaac approaching Harper’s home while yelling is heard coming from inside. You can barely hear what they’re arguing about (subtitles don’t help) but after raising the volume pretty high and rupturing an eardrum, it turns out they were arguing about moving to the great empty outdoors. Their move was Gideon’s idea and Lizzy is not happy at all.
A little while later Isaac and Gideon are building an outhouse while Lizzy is teaching Emma about gardening. Emma tells Lizzy that they moved from Illinois because Gideon didn’t want to work for her father. She also says Gideon is not strong like Isaac or Lizzy which isn’t a weird thing to say but then she stares at Isaac a bit too long.
She then gets up to get water for the men and gives Isaac water first. By give, I mean she pours it into his mouth but doesn’t do the same for Gideon, who is you know, her husband. She also does this in full view of Lizzy and Gideon.
Later Lizzy and Emma sit by a tree and Emma says the land can play tricks on your mind. We pan out to see the tree has a plaque with an ‘S’ on it.
In the present Lizzy goes outside and cleans up after the storm, picking up the linens and other items it threw around. Heading back inside, she sees the sheep the wolves killed staring at her and very much alive with no wounds. Shocked she reaches inside, pulls out the shotgun, and shoots resurrected sheep never once wondering if maybe this is sheep-Jesus.
Guess what? It’s flashback time. Lizzy and Isaac wake up to Gideon banging on their door. He tells them Emma is sick and asks them to go back to the house with him. There, Lizzy goes in alone and finds Emma praying under the bed. She then starts repeating “it’s coming for me” but doesn’t say what “it” is.
Lizzy tries to tell her nothing is out to get her but Emma reiterates something is coming for her and reveals she is pregnant. Shocked, Lizzy goes outside and tells the men while grabbing a box from her horse. Back inside, the box is revealed to have a bottle of chloroform which Lizzy pours on a rag.
Before Lizzy can put the rag on Emma’s mouth, Emma gets one good hit in, smacking her in the face. Lizzy puts the rag on her mouth and she passes out. Outside Lizzy tells Gideon to drag Emma out from under the bed and to tie her to it.
Back at home with Isaac, Lizzy tends to the cut on her lip and Isaac asks if Emma really is pregnant which is just the most suspicious question he could ask at the moment. Lizzy says that Emma thinks she is and it’s clear Lizzy suspects Isaac is the father.
In the present, Lizzy goes to the Harper’s cabin and looks through their belongings. In a chest, she finds a novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho, which triggers a flashback. Why did we even bother with the present?
Sometime after Emma’s under-the-bed incident, Lizzy is reading the novel to her and abruptly stops because the novel is a gothic style supernatural. It’s probably the last thing you want to read to someone who thinks there’s a supernatural being out to get her.
Emma tells Lizzy there definitely is something supernatural out there. Lizzy tries to ignore her but Emma insists she’s seen ‘it’ and that Gideon won’t believe her. In the present, Lizzy fixes her door where the wolf broke through and then we freaking flashback again! This time we flashback even further to a time when Lizzy was pregnant.
Home alone at night, Lizzy sings to the baby in her stomach and stops when she hears the sound of tapping at the front door. Opening it, she finds no one but the howling wind. After she sits back down, the tapping starts back up but this time it’s accompanied by Isaac calling out to her.
Thinking it’s him, she opens the door but there’s no one there. The fireplace and candles all suddenly go out and Lizzy runs back inside to relight them. She lights two candles but something blows them out. Every match she lights is immediately blown out and she starts praying as she continuously attempts to light one. The fireplace erupts in fire and the front door flies open. Lizzy screams as we cut to the following day.
Isaac arrives home and calls out to Lizzy who doesn’t answer. Searching the cabin he finds her praying in German in some kind of trance until he grabs her. A little while later she’s back to normal sitting at the table with Isaac regretting leaving her alone. In her bible he finds a small pamphlet on demons and Lizzy claims she only glanced at it. Isaac tells her she is filling her mind with nonsense and throws it in the fire.
Lizzy tells Isaac she saw something but he doesn’t believe her. Sounds familiar. Isaac grabs his shotgun and gives it to Lizzy telling her the next time she thinks she sees a demon; to shoot it in the dick. He didn’t say dick though but I feel like he meant it.
Back in the present, Lizzie is watching the dark and empty Harper cabin from her window when their candles suddenly light. Lizzie throws on her shoulder blanket and grabs her shotgun almost like she was hoping this would happen. Like it’s something she’s been wishing for all day.
Lizzie rushes over to the Harper’s cabin, sees some shadows through the door, and readies her weapon. Walking in she finds it empty and starts to flip out. She throws the pillows and cries out demanding to know where ‘it’ is. The cabin starts to shake and items are thrown from shelves. Lizzy screams for it to stop like she didn’t ask for this to happen.
As the cabin settles she sees a small book on the floor which turns out to be Emma’s diary and last I heard, diaries hold secrets. Lizzie picks it up and, in a great jump scare, fucking dead-Emma appears. She grabs Lizzy’s arm and asks where her gun is but Lizzie passes out. Honestly, I don’t blame her because that one got me too.
We flashback to Lizzie watching over Emma who is bedridden from the pregnancy. Emma is reciting names of demons and what they are demons of when she asks Lizzie to guess what she’s going to name the baby. Emma eventually tells Lizzie that if the baby is a girl, she will name it Lizzie because she is strong. Aww, that’s nice.
She then tells Lizzie that if it’s a boy she’s going to name it Isaac and it’s important to note again that Gideon is her husband. Lizzie asks why she would name the baby Isaac and Emma wickedly replies that she knows why. Aww, that’s fucked up.
Emma then goes back to naming demons. In the present, Lizzie wakes up, grabs Emma’s diary, and heads back home. She doesn’t notice she’s picked up a friend.
At home, Lizzie reads Emma’s diary which confirms Isaac slept with her and Emma believes the baby is his. Unable to deal with the revelation, Lizzie lays down and knocks herself out with chloroform.
We flashback to Lizzie giving birth at home with Isaac assisting her. Isaac says it’s a boy but when Lizzie finishes delivering, she questions why the baby isn’t crying. Isaac wraps the baby up and rushes out of the room.
A little while later the two are by a tree having buried their child they named Samuel. Lizzie buries her bible in the mound of dirt stating that he’ll use it more than she will.
In the present Lizzie wakes up and lights a fire as a man approaches her door from outside. She notices him trying to peek through the window and she aims her gun as she pulls back the blinds. The man is revealed to be a reverend spreading the word of god. Lizzie allows him inside where she cooks him a meal and the two talk about god.
After the meal the reverend thanks Lizzie and she tells him he can stay at the Harper’s cabin as it’s getting dark. The reverend agrees but Lizzie warns him to not open the door for anyone after dark, even her. Though confused, he agrees and sets off.
That night, in a jump scare, Lizzie is awakened by the reverend banging on her front door. Before she opens the door, she tells him to move to the window so she can confirm it’s him. After confirmation she lets him in and the panicked reverend questions what that ‘thing’ is. Lizzie says she doesn’t know and that it’s been around since they moved there.
The reverend questions why she never moved and Lizzie tells him Isaac never believed her. He’s shocked that Isaac never saw it and baffled that even after Emma saw it he didn’t want to move. The problem with the reverend’s statement there is, that Lizzie never mentioned Emma. Lizzie and the reverend both catch his mistake and he reveals himself to be a demon.
We never see the demon’s form only the shadows of its claws as Lizzie runs out of the house. Arriving at Harper’s cabin, Lizzie barricades herself in for the night. The following morning she finds the dead body of the reverend outside her home. At her front door, she finds the bible she buried at Samuel’s grave covered in dirt.
After bathing while staring at the bible, she gets dressed and takes the shotgun to Samuel’s grave. She sits down by the tree and places the gun in her mouth. Just as she’s about to pull the trigger she hears the sounds of a horse approaching. Looking up she sees it’s Isaac.
In tears, Lizzie cautiously approaches him and by cautiously, I mean she has the shotgun pointed at him the entire time. Isaac, probably the most confused he’s ever been, tells her it’s just him and is able to reach the gun as he embraces her. He then tells her he saw the reverend on his way home and the reverend said she was very hospitable.
Obviously, this confuses Lizzie and she walks away. I don’t know why she didn’t just take him to the reverend’s body but we cut to sometime later as Lizzie watches several men pack up the Harper’s belongings.
The following day Lizzie wakes up in a good mood and Isaac claims it’s the most sleep she’s had in a while. He then tells her he has a surprise for her outside. There Lizzie is shocked to see the Harper’s chest. Isaac says they’re just books and they’ll need it to keep their minds occupied through the winter. A little while later as Lizzie is sewing, Isaac reads Frankenstein to her because no one knows how to not read horror novels in a horror movie.
Later as Lizzie places the books from the chest onto a bookshelf, a pamphlet on demons, the same one she had in one of the many flashbacks, falls out of a book. Inside we see it names all the demons that Emma was naming in one of the too many flashbacks.
That night Isaac arrives back home with firewood and sees the demon pamphlet next to Lizzie. She tells him it was Emma’s and Isaac says nothing good will come from reading it as it led to Emma taking her own life.
Lizzie suggests that Emma didn’t commit suicide and Isaac leaves in disbelief. Lizzie yells out that something might be out there and Isaac returns screaming that nothing is out there before storming back out.
Lizzie runs to the door calling out for Isaac but when she opens it, in a jump scare, Emma is there asking where the gun is. Lizzie slams the door and grabs her gun, pointing it at the door as the windows explode. Unseen force throws her across the room and drags her toward a chair where the ghoulish reverend sits.
She attempts to crawl away but a force lifts her in the air and slams her down onto the table. As she flips over we see a pair of scissors that were on the table have impaled her stomach. Lizzie pulls out the scissors and loses consciousness.
A little while later Lizzie wakes up and sees Emma sitting on a nearby chair while humming. Lizzie closes her eyes and when she opens them it’s now Isaac sitting in the chair reading Emma’s diary. Lizzie realizes her hands and legs are tied to the bed and calls out to him.
Through tears, Isaac questions how Emma got Lizzie’s gun and Lizzie tells him it doesn’t matter. Isaac realizes that Lizzie killed Emma believing she did so after discovering the affair. Lizzie denies having killed Emma and spots a piece of broken glass on the nightstand.
We see in a flashback Emma dancing around at night with the shotgun and Lizzie trying to stop her. She successfully gets the gun back but Emma tells her she told Gideon to leave and that soon it will just be her, Lizzie, Isaac, and the baby as one family.
Lizzie shoots and kills Emma. In the present Lizzie is attempting to cut the rope around her wrists when she sees a shadow growing on the ceiling. She tries to warn Isaac who has his back turned to her but he yells that there is nothing in the house. As he turns around we see that his eyes are black like a demon.
Isaac notices Lizzie is trying to cut herself free and attempts to grab her hands. Lizzie cuts the ropes and stabs him in the neck. Stepping back, Isaac’s eyes appear normal and he falls to the ground dead.
Lizzie steps outside the cabin and collapses on the ground from her wounds. We then see a flashback because of course this movie won’t end without at least one more. This flashback appears to be when Isaac and Lizzie first moved to the cabin.
On their way there, they see the reverend who tries to give Lizzie a bible but she already has one. He then gives her the demon pamphlet telling her she can never be too prepared.
In the present Lizzie sits up and imagines herself on a bed in the middle of the field. As we pan out, the bed is gone and so is Lizzie- mentally; she’s still right there in the field but she’s staring off into nothing. The film ends as we continue to pan out and we see that there is nothing around her including the cabin.
So What Happened in the End?
While The Wind is purposely ambiguous at times as to whether there are demons or if the reverend was a demon, the more likely explanation is there are no demons and both Lizzy and Emma were suffering from ‘prairie madness’.
The Wind focuses on the American Frontier during a time when settlers were expanding west into extremely isolated territory. This is shown when Lizzy tells Emma there’s now only 4 people in the area and when Isaac and Gideon go to town, they’re gone for several days. During the 19th century the extreme isolation led to people having mental breakdowns and even committing suicide. This was more prevalent in those who moved to the isolated west from populated cities (something Lizzy mentions they did).
We first see Lizzy start experiencing these symptoms while she’s pregnant and home alone. At this point she has the demon pamphlet and is possibly having some fears about having a baby in the isolated west. Later Emma has these same fears on top of the fact that she doesn’t want to be in her relationship and never wanted to move out to the west in the first place.
Emma’s mental breakdown, followed by the confirmation that Isaac cheated on her led to Lizzy having another breakdown and killing Emma. This one is so severe she didn’t even remember killing her. Emma’s ghost then appeared as part of Lizzy’s own repressed guilt which explains why anytime the ghost appeared it asked Lizzy where her gun was. Essentially Ghost-Emma wanted Lizzy to remember where her gun was when she died.
It only gets worse when she can’t save Emma’s baby as we see Lizzy imagine the wolves shapeshifting into a large shadow behind the door right after cleaning up the blood. After Gideon moves away taking all of their stuff, Lizzy is able to sleep as anything reminding her of Emma is gone.
Unfortunately Isaac brings the chest of books which not only reminds her of Emma’s death but also contains the demon pamphlet, this triggers a final mental breakdown in Lizzy. She is now certain that something demonic killed Emma and when telling Isaac this, it causes him to leave. Seeing him leave further drives her into her psychosis and she sees Emma’s ghost, the reverend, and the windows blow out.
From her point of view we see her lifted in the air and stabbed by a pair of scissors but the final shots of the movie make it clear we can’t trust what Lizzy is seeing. One moment she’s sitting on a bed that’s randomly outside and the next it’s gone. Then as we pan out, the cabin is gone.
The Wind is pretty good. Although it teeters on the edge of being a full-on slow-burn psychological horror, those who like those types of movie will still enjoy The Wind. It does a great job at setting up the atmosphere and making you feel the isolation in the first half of the film with some unsettling scenes. Meanwhile the second half feels more like a typical demon/ghost movie.
Overall the acting was well done, there might have been a scene or two that felt a bit too forced; for example when Lizzy is in the Harper’s cabin screaming for the house to stop, but nothing throws you out of the movie.
While the story was interesting and kept you engaged, the constant flashbacks were a bit annoying. I get wanting to show something from a flashback or in the present triggering a memory but returning to the present for a 30 second scene where Lizzy finds a book or wakes up and takes some pills just felt like too much. You’re left wondering why they even bothering with the scene instead of focusing on what the scene was showing you.
The very few jump scares and the atmosphere of The Wind was the highlight, it dropped in jump scares or important story beats at the exact right time to prevent the movie from getting boring. It’s a balance that I think some slow-burn horror movies don’t get right all the time. The last third of the movie does drop the slow-burn aspect for the most part but by then you’ll probably want it to anyway because you’ve figured out what’s going on.
Overall I would recommend The Wind especially to those who like slow-burn horror but even if you don’t there’s a chance you’ll still enjoy it.