Snow regrets

Movie: Wendigo

Our Rating: 3.00

While on a weekend vacation to a house in the snowy, wooded country, a family of New Yorkers endure the attacks of a mysterious outside force. Is it merely one of the local deer hunters, of whom they've already run afoul? Or is their pursuer actually the Wendigo, a Native American spirit whose anger is carried aloft on the frosty winds?

"A lot of people make up stories to make sense of the world," daddy George (Jake Weber) reassures his son, Miles (Erik Per Sullivan). But it's hard to make sense of the bouillabaisse of signifiers writer/director Fessenden serves up. At various times, he appears to submit his latest film as a story of man vs. nature; femininity vs. masculinity; Darwinism vs. compassion; or metropolitan sophistication vs. rural wisdom. All are dallied with, yet none really takes hold as the film's overriding conflict.

The pop-cultural imagery Fessenden inserts into the action - specifically the archetypal, stoic Injun of kids' toys and product logos - hints at yet another theme: the deconstruction of childhood icons. If that's his game, he played it better in "Habit" (1997), in which the belief in vampires was posited as a potential escape from adult intellectual responsibilities. Open to interpretation but clearly focused, that film boasted a keen perception to which this one merely pretends.

Despite "Wendigo's" obvious surface similarities to "The Shining" and "Deliverance," the excellent cast keeps the character development feeling fresh. And Fessenden's visual intelligence hasn't failed him: His stuttering camera moves and time-lapse shots of wintry skies wring maximum creeps out of the sparse narrative. He's made a slick, skillful little horror film here. But he's capable of so much more.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.