May 11, 2019

A Brief Review of Wildling (2018)

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I was initially planning to write this one as another "very brief review" similar to what I did for The Meg and The Nun and Blumhouse's Truth or Dare and Blood Fest, but I decided to expand it into its own post at the last minute. Unlike most of the others, I thought this one was worth watching.

I had never heard of Wildling (2018) before seeing it, but it was a pleasant surprise that I'm glad to have stumbled upon. While I am not going to claim that it was remotely scary, I will say that I found it more interesting and better acted than most of the horror films I've seen lately. And while it didn't deliver the sort of creepy atmosphere I usually look for, there was something about it hard to put my finger on that just worked. In some respects, it had almost a modern fairy tale vibe to it that seemed to fit the content rather well.

The plot was simple. A young girl is discovered living in an attic without being allowed to go outside. She ends up living temporarily with a small-town sheriff played by Liv Tyler while social services tries to locate her family. It is clear that there's something odd about her. Is she traumatized by the abuse and neglect she's presumably experienced, or is something else going on? Admittedly, it was easy to figure out where this one was going. We have seen this common horror twist on a coming-of-age story too many times not to see it coming.

Normally, something this predictable would fail miserably. In Wildling, the the performances were strong enough that I found this relatively easy to overlook. I knew what was going to happen, but I didn't know when or how. I also thought that the girl who played the lead, Bel Powley, was perfect for this role and really delivered. Liv Tyler was a good choice too.

Should you see Wildling? That's hard to say without giving everything away. Context matters, and I watched this one right after some real stinkers. My positive impressions may be due to how much better it was than what I had just watched. The horror elements were mild enough that I could imagine some viewers finding it boring. Die-hard fans of this horror subgenre (which I can't mention without giving too much away) will probably find it lacking. As someone who doesn't particularly care for most of the classic films in this subgenre, I found that Wildling did better than many in holding my interest. I did find the end to be disappointing, but it was not quite bad enough to ruin the film for me.