The Windmill Massacre Review & Interview
Ok so, first things first, The Windmill Massacre is a much better title than just "The Windmill" so, North American distributors, sorry but you're wrong. If you have the chance to put the word Massacre at the end of a title - DO IT - do not take it away! Even if the film is about going for a picnic or washing a duck, "The Duck Washing Picnic Massacre" still sounds kick ass to me. It's like movie marketing has taken a step back, I just don't understand.
Secondly, what can you expect from The Windmill Massacre once you've committed to rent it or go see it?
SYNOPSIS: We meet a bus load of tourists, possibly with murky pasts, on a windmill sight seeing trip of Holland.
The bus breaks down and as each person leaves the bus they hallucinate something that points to their past troubles and then are killed, viciously, by a tall shadowy figure carrying an enormous, rusty scythe... just like the grim reaper, basically.
The deaths are pleasantly inventive and gruesome. There could've been slightly more effort made on the suspense and more directorial fun had with the bizarre, dream like hallucinations in some cases but the atmosphere is there and the performances are there which helps unsettle you and root you in the reality of the story.
The story is basically a dark, twisted fairy-tale with spiritual and supernatural elements. It starts out as a slow, character based, possible slasher film but you soon realise that other forces are at play. There's a nice attempt to do something akin to John Carpenter's The Thing where little revelations about each of the tourists casts mistrust amongst the group but it does go from 0 to 60 a bit quickly for my taste. The international cast do well with the script and are cast well. Patrick Baladi and Noah Taylor are recognisable faces but most, to me, were unknowns. That didn't matter though as they were all very strong.
The set design, the costumes and the effects were all excellent. There could've been a lot less CGI for my taste but there was enough practical also to keep me happy.
The film, if you're new to horror, will have a lot to creep you out and even some kills that might churn your guts a little. I do have to say though that, as someone who's seen a lot of horror films in the past, this one, sadly, doesn't offer a whole lot of new to the genre. However, it has a good ensemble cast, some great sets, is made well and has a few interesting things sewn into it. I applaud it, especially, for trying to concentrate on strong characters, motivations, morals and adding the fairy-tale aspects. Most horror films don't bother with that.
In our interview (see below) Director Nick Jongerius sites Guillermo del Toro as an influence and certainly the signs are there in the blending of folklore and realistic characters but The Windmill (AKA, the much better, The Windmill Massacre) lacks del Toro's visual richness and weird flights of fancy. Instead this is more like a well written 90s slasher film meets del Toro's cousin. Who, for the sake of argument, let's call Geoff.
As a debut feature it is impressive and there is much to build on here. I think had the visuals matched the characters and the ambition then it could've been really dazzling. As it is, it's a fairly decent, middle of a movie marathon type, watchable horror drama which shows much potential in the film-makers and the cast.
Listen to and/or download my interview with the director Nick Jongerius and take a look at further stills from the film in our gallery below that.
THE WINDMILL is out in theatres today and is also available on iTunes and VOD. Check it out!