ENYS MEN is a new Folk Horror Movie that definitely won’t be for everyone. It’s more “artsy” than it is “horror”, which can be absolutely fine. If you know what you’re getting into. I didn’t really and wasn’t thrilled. Read our full Enys Men movie review here!
ENYS MEN is a horror movie that most horror fans probably won’t recognize as horror. However, and this is key, that does not mean it isn’t a horror movie. It’s just a different kind of horror movie and I am always intrigued by that. Also, its star Mary Woodvine kept me hooked on this movie much more than many other actors would’ve managed.
In fact, seeing her face and being able to relate to her is why I liked this more than Skinamarink (2022). Both linger a lot and don’t focus much on a classic storytelling approach. As an actual horror movie experience, however, Skinamarink wins. I just didn’t personally care for it very much overall.
Continue reading our Enys Men movie review below. Find it in select theaters from March 31, 2023.
A very different kind of horror movie
This movie is not for everyone. Then again, neither is the standard slasher movie, so there’s that. I wanted to like this movie and was into it for a while. And then I realized I should’ve probably watched this in the darkness of a movie theater to get into it. If at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I watch all screeners on an excellent TV and sound system. It’s just never the same as with a movie theater.
Movies like Enys Men are something you have to “experience” rather than just watch. You need to surrender to all the little details and join the main character, The Volunteer, on her trip into a nightmarish evolution. And I will give Enys Men this, the lead role as “The Volunteer” is portrayed brilliantly by Mary Woodvine.
She’s an actor with the most intriguing face and piercing blue eyes. Also, she’s wearing an intensely red raincoat whenever she’s outside. I can’t be the only one who instantly thinks of the 1973 horror classic Don’t Look Now starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland.
Coincidentally (or not!), the movie Enys Men takes place in 1973.
Folk horror as a niche
I’m actually very intrigued by the subgenre of “folk horror” and I don’t mind lingering imagery or very little dialogue. Two things this folk horror movie serves up in spades. And yet, I cannot claim that I was thrilled by this. But at least I know why; I love storytelling and character-driven movies (of any genre) more than symbolism.
Movies like Nocebo (2022) or The Witch (2015), to name just a few of the more recent movies in folk horror, work brilliantly for me. Also, something like the HBO series The Third Day. But again, in all of these movies, there are very concrete storylines driven by their characters. That’s my kind of jam!
In Enys Men, time is not linear and she’s seeing things (or maybe not?!) and reacts to this sometimes. As a viewer, I just felt like I was never invited fully into whatever was going on. Whether this was the point or just my experience is something I’m still unsure of.
Watch Enys Men in select theaters!
Mark Jenkin is the writer and director of Enys Men. He is definitely an up-and-coming director getting noticed at film festivals worldwide. Still, he has a distinct style and actively uses color in this movie. As opposed to his previous black-and-white movie Bait (2019).
Actually, his previous movie is one most fans of Mark Jenkin seem to prefer over this new one, so I’m curious to watch it.
If you enjoy folk horror, which this movie is often (accurately) described as, then maybe you’ll also want to check out a new Netflix anthology series. Also, it’s been created in cooperation with UNESCO and focuses on folktales from all over Africa. It’s appropriately titled African Folktales Reimagined. We’ve reviewed the anthology right here >
Enys Men is the kind of Folk Horror movie that definitely won’t be for everyone due to its overall style. It’s very artsy and full of symbolism. Some is easily deciphered but much is left to each viewer’s own interpretation. That’s not for me when taken this far. Still, if you go into watching this, knowing what it is, you’ll probably have a really good experience.
Enys Men is out in select theaters from March 31, 2023.
Director: Mark Jenkin
Writer: Mark Jenkin
Cast: Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe, Flo Crowe, John Woodvine, Joe Gray, Loveday Twomlow
A wildlife volunteer on an uninhabited island off the British coast descends into a terrifying madness that challenges her grip on reality and pushes her into a living nightmare. Evoking the feeling of discovering a reel of never-before-seen celluloid unspooling in a haunted movie palace, this provocative and masterful vision of horror asserts Mark Jenkin as one of the U.K.’s most exciting and singular filmmakers.