The Windmill is a slasher film and a spooky supernatural tale in the tradition of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and countless campfire tales. The film is very good and certain to please a wide variety of horror fans. It’s gruesome and gory, yet restrained when it benefits the eerie atmosphere. The acting is top shelf too, featuring the always expert Noah Taylor (“Game of Thrones”, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as the troubled doctor Nicholas and Charlotte Beaumont (“Broadchurch”, Jupiter Ascending) in the lead role of Jennifer. Jennifer is an Australian fugitive on the run in Amsterdam. She ends up with Nicholas and a diverse cast of characters on a tour bus in the back country of Holland. When their bus breaks down near a dilapidated ancient windmill, all hell breaks loose and the passengers begin to disappear one by one as is the tradition of any good slasher film.
What sets The Windmill apart from most slashers is the care taken in creating atmosphere. Who knew Holland’s countryside could be so ghostly and weird? The surroundings are evocative of sets from classic monster movies, but with enough grimy realism to make them worthy of being inhabited by modern characters. The story is given some additional depth by implementing the classic Serling-esque trope of anti-heroes as acceptable targets for supernatural punishment/redemption. Our protagonists all have checkered pasts that ultimately led them to the windmill. This trope can be tired and cliche in the wrong hands, but director Nick Jongerius makes it work. The backstories are presented in a variety of ways, and I was curious to learn more about each character as their individual stories unfolded. None of it played as filler; all of it made each character more absorbing than the typical victim in a “dead teenager movie”. The diverse cast and care in craft make The Windmill a cut above most recent horror releases.
You can read my interview with director Nick Jongerius here.
THE WINDMILL IN THEATERS: October 28, 2016 AVAILABLE ON VOD AND ITUNES: October 25, 2016 DIRECTED BY: Nick Jongerius WRITTEN BY: Nick Jongerius, Chris W. Mitchell, Suzy Quid CAST: Charlotte Beaumont, Bart Klever, Patrick Baladi, Ben Batt, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida, Adam Thomas Wright and Noah Taylor SYNOPSIS: A group of unsuspecting tourists awaken a mysterious evil while on a trip through the Dutch countryside.