The Windigo 2024 Movie Scene Marco Fuller as Ry battling with the evil creature known as the Wendigo

The Windigo [2024]

Did you know that there’s not a single high-profile movie about Wendigos? There are literally a thousand movies about Big Foot and no one has even seen the damned thing! It seems to me that we find ourselves in Chupacabra territory once again. However, I think I’m getting ahead of myself a bit so let’s do this properly. Wendigo or Windigo is an evil entity from Native American mythology, namely from the Algonquian folklore. I say entity because it can both possess people and appear as a skinny, horned, and bloodthirsty creature. A creature craving human flesh. With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about the movie we have before us today. 

The Windigo is a refreshing and quite ambitious indie creature feature with a Native American twist. We will be following Claire, a single mother who comes to her hometown after twenty years to check up on her grandma. This visit is a perfect opportunity for her teenage son and daughter to reconnect with their heritage. However, they will quickly run into trouble with the local drug dealers. Afraid for the lives of his family, Claire’s son Ry, will decide to take some extreme measures, with the help of his grandma, of course. So, we’ve got a pretty much standard-issue horror tale consisting of one nasty creature, a couple of bad guys, and one family in the middle of it all.

Ohh, that’s right, there’s also a big old remote farm, perfect for these sorts of situations. If you’re a horror fan, all of this will seem familiar. The Windigo opens with a scene set in the past, telling you that it’s not fucking joking. The costumes, make-up and pretty much everything else looks excellent. And right away you can see that the direction and especially editing are on-point. Although I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed when we transitioned to modern times. I guess I was expecting another Prey. It’s so fucking refreshing to see an overwhelmingly Native American cast that that fact alone makes this movie worth watching. 

Led by experienced Tonantzin Carmelo who gave one hell of a performance, almost all of them did a great job. Marco Fuller was solid as the troubled teen Ry while Fivel Stewart was even better as his feisty sister Bree. Now, Casey Camp-Horinek was a bit wobbly as Grandma but even she was charmingly wobbly. Brian Krause, whom you might remember from the popular television show Charmed, wasn’t too bad as well. And let’s get something out of the way right now. The script is average, even dipping into uninspired and forced during certain scenes. On the other hand, the main story is quite good.

I mean, what would you do if a bunch of shady drug dealers threatened to kill you and your family? And you live on a remote farm policed by a disinterested and possibly racist sheriff. You would summon that creature without giving it a second thought. The pacing was just as good along with a quite short running time of just 80 minutes. The Windigo seems to be aware of its limits and it makes the most of what it has. This is something a lot of indie horror movies struggle with. I also love the fact that it’s not afraid to show off its main attraction, the Wendigo creature. Make no mistake, The Windigo is an R-rated movie and there will be a couple of graphic scenes.

I was expecting a bit more since they were already getting that rating but I guess the budgetary constraints didn’t allow for such amenities. While the creature itself looks believable and nasty, the fake scares during the opening act didn’t work and were quite clumsy. This is where competent direction and editing along with pacing step in and save the day. So, even if you’re not particularly fond of these sorts of indie affairs, you’ll be able to finish this one quite easily. Gabe Torres uses every trick in the book to engage the viewer. Something that’s quite difficult but also necessary to do when you’re making these sorts of movies.

From an owl casually eating its prey over a shit ton of dream catchers to “accidentally found” Christmas lights, each of these elements enhances the viewing experience. The Windigo was filmed in Ann Arbor and Scio Township, Michigan, making the most of its natural beauty. With a healthy dose of reality in the form of drugs, a plague that’s destroying all rural communities. What this movie is missing are the scenes showing life going on in this place without our characters. Something to help with the immersion and to demonstrate that there’s more to this place than the story we’re currently watching.

Add to this a bit of passive character development and you got yourself quite a movie. Still, even without this, I think that you should check out this movie. Especially if you’re a fan of the genre. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like The Windigo, I suggest you first check out Antlers. And then you can move on to a more darkly humorous Ravenous, one of my favorite movies.

Director: Gabe Torres

Writer: Brent Jordan

Cast: Tonantzin Carmelo, Marco Fuller, Fivel Stewart, Casey Camp-Horinek, Brian Krause, Adam Shalzi

Fun Facts: The Native American cast and crew working on the set used sage to ward off evil spirits.


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