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John’s Horror Corner: A Wounded Fawn (2022), a weirdly satisfying indie arthouse horror embracing Greek mythology.

January 16, 2023

MY CALL: Arthouse films are not my jam. But this trippy indie hooked me with a good serial killer vibe and its utility of Greek mythology. Weird and well done. MORE MOVIES LIKE A Wounded Fawn: Looking for more weird, trippy, surreal horror? Maybe try Mandy (2018), Antichrist (2009) or Natural Born Killers (1994).

Off for a weekend retreat to get to know one another better, Meredith (Sarah Lind; Wolfcop, Jakob’s Wife, The Exorcism of Molly Hartley) and Bruce (Josh Ruben; Scare Me, Werewolves Within, Blood Relatives) are off for a cabin retreat. Something awkward about their dialogue, I came to realize, is that this weekend is essentially their second date (or so)—they really don’t know much about each other at all.

Bruce’s cabin is an artistic splendor, but something haunts Meredith upon her arrival. There seems to be a woman skulking about the cabin. All the while, we can see that Bruce is fighting off some sort of dark murderous compulsion in the shadows of his subconscious which he occasionally “sees” standing before him, as if beckoning the sin. Their first evening grows tense by dinner time and Meredith already wants to go home back to the city. I think anyone who’s ever been on a bad or strange date will readily relate to this deliberately restrained panic and urge to flee, purely to avoid inciting unwanted reactions from the other party. After all, you don’t just suddenly scream, turn and sprint when you cross a bear on a forest path.

Most pleasing to me was the use of a small “Erinyes” sculpture as a plot device. The exposition behind the piece was organic, it served as a plot device, and was ultimately thematic to the Greek Mythology-inspired fate of our characters.

This film has a very, very indie look to it, as well as some very strong, recurring arthouse elements. Indeed, this is an arthouse film. But there are also some more mainstream visceral, graphic wounds and blood. The fleshy gore is not frequent nor thematic to this film, but effective. The atmosphere is sufficiently creepy, and occasionally lulls us into surreal dream sequences and threatening visions.

All told, this was neither riveting nor exciting—truly, this just isn’t “my kind of movie.” However, it was very interesting. I was ever curious about what was going on, where it was leading, what it all means… and unlike most horror movies, I found some satisfaction to its resolution.

The atmosphere was well-cultivated, I was always curious where it was heading next, and while not my style at all, the arthouse components sure threw a curveball into the mix. So I’d call this an intriguing arthouse horror for the more inquisitive viewer. I’m definitely glad I gave this a shot and will now seek out more films by director Travis Stevens’ (Girl on the Third Floor, Jakob’s Wife). I also enjoyed Girl on the Third Floor (2019), so Jakob’s Wife (2021) is next for me!

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