Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow was one of my favorite movies of the year when it first came out. So when I found out his new feature, Wounds, would be playing at Screamfest I knew it was one I couldn’t miss.
Wounds is about Will, a bartender at Rosie’s dive bar. He has his regulars there like Alicia, with whom he shares evident sexual tension, and Eric, the belligerent drunk. When we are introduced to these characters, they are having a great time at Rosie’s while Will tends bar. It’s a slow night with just a few underage millennials and a handful of other patrons. Will is forced to call the cops when a fight breaks loose between Eric and another customer. The underage teenagers leave behind a phone in their rush to flee. The mysteries within the phone bring strange occurrences in Will’s world, involving his not-so-loving girlfriend Carrie as well.
Wounds delivers beautiful cinematics and a dark atmosphere, but its underdeveloped story isn’t quite on par with Under the Shadow. Halfway through I had to stop and ask where is this headed, or whether it was headed anywhere at all. Sadly the story moves forward aimlessly all the way through. I was hoping the ending would save this film and tie everything together. But instead, it ended in a rushed and anticlimactic fashion.
Everything leading up to the ending doesn’t make all that much sense either. We are given a short snippet of the reasoning behind the plot, but not enough to sort everything out. Will slowly beings to lose his sense of reality and experiences a shift in his mood, yet again none of that is explained. Maybe there is a hidden message and this movie goes deeper than what meets the eye. If that is the case, however, then it’s buried so deeply that it’s hard to figure out and it doesn’t work.
Much like the story, the characters lack charm and amiability. There isn’t a single likable character, and I had a hard time finding anyone to root for. There is hardly any character development or back story as well. Even Will’s descent into madness is not written off in a nice gradual spiral. Of course, this didn’t help with carrying for the story. The acting, however, was decent. The performances from Armie Hammer and Zazie Beetz were the highlight of the film.
While this movie looks pretty and comes across with a few creepy moments, it fails to deliver a consistent story. When the credits roll we’re not given enough information to put the puzzle pieces together. A story filled with flat and mostly unnecessary characters, no purpose, and no rewarding ending puts this one the forgettable bin.
Wounds is now streaming on Hulu.