Wildling is so much more than I expected it to be. Simply a brilliant Fantasy Horror Movie with a new take on both family and shapeshifters. Bel Powley is a revelation and I loved the story!
Wildling was such a wonderful surprise where I found myself completely immersed in the story. This is a great fantasy horror movie that has various plots that co-exist perfectly. We get to see a teenage girl introduced to the world after having been locked away, but without forgetting the supernatural elements.
Often, a story will go too heavy with the drama or completely forget character development and just focus on the action. Wildling is perhaps one of the best examples of how to do both perfectly.
Full disclosure, I thought the trailer looked great but was pretty pissed off that it showed too much. It’s a bit of a pet peeve that I hate trailers that basically give me a summary of the movie. However, even though the trailer gives quite a bit away, it’s really not that spoiler-filled.
There is so much more to Wildling than the trailer lets on.
You can watch the trailer for The Wildling right here or continue reading our review below.
Bel Powley steals the show
Bel Powley plays the lead character, Anna, and she is a revelation. She has to be believable as someone who has been locked up in her room all her life, but still knows love. She’s not exactly good at communicating since she’s only ever known and talked to her dad.
She clearly understands and responds to love and compassion. Even if her reactions are cruder than what we usually know and experience. This could so easily have been portrayed in a clumsy or exaggerated way, but Bel Powley walks that fine line brilliantly.
Also, Liv Tyler (who also helped produce Wildling) gives one of her best performances here. I’ve always liked her, but here she plays a character so real and lovable. She’s the police officer who finds Anna and later helps take care of her.
Mostly because Anna insists on going home with her since she trusts her. I found their relationship to be very honest and realistic, which is the reason the movie works so well.
So many fascinating characters
Anna (Bel Powley) initially interacts mostly with the character played by Brad Dourif. He portrays her dad and cares for her very lovingly. It’s pretty strange to see someone both trapped in her own room and truly loved by the one guarding her.
This builds up suspense from the very beginning. And, of course, Brad Dourif is a scene stealer. Horror fans might know him best as the voice of “Chucky” in the Chucky franchise. He is also a Golden Globe winner (and was nominated for an Oscar) for his role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Later on, Anna (Powley) mostly has scenes with Liv Tyler and Collin Kelly-Sordelet. Both work really well and have the job of introducing her to the real world.
Finally, James Le Gros plays a character who helps her understand her true nature. His character is simply known as “The Wolf Man” and when you watch Wildling, you’ll understand why. James Le Gros only has a few scenes and no real lines, but you will definitely remember him afterward.
An impressive debut from Fritz Böhm
Wildling was directed and co-written by Fritz Böhm. I was very surprised to learn that this was, in fact, his feature film debut as a director. However, he’s certainly no stranger to the movie-making business. He’s worked as a production manager and in various other areas.
For the script, he teamed up with Florian Eder. The two have already worked together on other projects, but this was the first time they wrote a screenplay together. Also, it’s Florian Eder’s first writing credit altogether.
With Wildling as a first feature film, I must admit I expect great things from Fritz Böhm in the future. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long.
The movie premiered at SXSW Film Festival in March 2018.
Wildling will be out in US theaters and VOD on April 13, 2018 via IFC Midnight.
Director: Fritz Bohm
Cast: Liv Tyler, Bel Powley, Brad Dourif, James LeGros, Collin Kelly-Sordelet
Young Anna (Powley), who spends her entire childhood in a single room under the care of a mysterious man (Brad Dourif) she only knows as “Daddy.” He makes her fear the “Outside” by telling her of the “Wildling,” a creature with sharp teeth and claws who roams about eating little children.
At age 16, Anna is freed by small-town sheriff Ellen Champney (Tyler), with whom she finds a temporary home. For the first time in her life, Anna experiences the Outside, soon learning there’s no such thing as the Wildling. But as she begins to flourish as a young woman, a series of unsettling events unfold. James LeGros will portray the Wolf Man, an eccentric shaman who lives in the forest.