Saturday, July 21, 2018

WILDLING (2018) (Scream Factory/IFC Midnight Blu-ray Review)

WILDLING (2018) 

Label: IFC Midnight/Scream Factory

Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 92 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Surround 5.1, English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Fritz Bohm
Cast: Bel Powley, Brad Dourif, Collin Kelly-Sordelet, James Le Gros, Liv Tyler

Feral coming-of-age story Wildling (2018) opens with an extended prologue wherein a man called "daddy" (Brad Dourif, Child's Play) keeps an adolescent girl named Anna locked-away im a room in his home located deep in the woods, he schools her and tells her fairytales of fearsome clawed creatures called "wildlings" whom he says have eaten all the other children in the world. He also uses hypnosis and brainwashing tactics to keep her unquestioning about her surroundings, feeding her a veggies-only diet, and administering daily injections designed to impede her growth as a women, i.e. keeping her menstruation at bay, for reasons not known. Overtime she grows into a young woman, now played by Bel Powley (A Royal Night Out), and the man becomes so distraught that his attempts to curb her turn to womanhood have failed that he blows his own brains out. In the aftermath the confused young girl ends up at the local hospital where it is revealed that "Daddy" wasn't her father at all, though no one is quite sure where she came from and why he kept the girl locked-up in the first place.

When the young girl is about to be shipped off to local orphanage  the doctors the local sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler, The Strangers) steps in and takes temporary custody of the girl, and the young woman takes an immediate liking to Cooper's teenage brother Ray (Collin Kelly-Sordelet), a nice kid who assists her with her understanding of the world, such as convincing her that berries that grow on bushed are in fact not the reincarnated souls of the dead, as her daddy taught her, just one of many lies he filled her head with over the years. As Anna begins to develop as a woman her libido is not all that's triggered, she has some serious feral-tendencies, sprouting not only new body hair but claws and a new set of sharp teeth, making her coming of age a bloody one in more ways than one.

Wildling is a pretty solid creature feature, well-directed by director Fritz Böhm and handsomely shot by cinematographer Toby Oliver (Happy Death Day), this coming of age story is along the lines of Ginger Snaps (2000) by way of The Beast Within (1982) with a smattering of Teeth (2007) and The Woman (2011), a powerful coming of age story wrapped in the trapping of a werewolf film, though not that exactly, this one goes more along the way of an urban legend about feral people, or a certain bigfooted cryptid we all know and love, I really liked where it went. Bel Powley says a lot with very few words, conveying fear, disorientation and feral voracity with her big blue eyes and body language, giving a very good physical performance as the woman turned wildling. The story of a young girl transforming into a woman is a journey already fraught with tribulations, even more so when it entails turning into a hairy wild woman, fending yourself from rape-y teen and being hunted by a group of men out to make sure her kind go extinct.

Dourif gives a good turn her as the creepily caring "daddy", we get some intriguing back story and some strange side characters, including a mysterious woodsman called the wolf man, played by James Le Gros (Phantasm II) whom aids the young woman during her difficult time and fills in some of the back story as well. Liv Tyler also turns in a good performance as the local sheriff, she's not someone I would usually say comes across as cno-nonsense usually, but she commands a degree of authority here while also coming across as caring and nurturing to the character of Anna, but it's Powley that carries the film here, she's pretty great.

The film is plenty bloody but not a gore-fest, the transformative body-horror elements are pretty good though, if teeth falling out of your mouth is a nightmare you have this might be nightmare fuel, but the special effects are mostly relegated to her hairy turn into a wildling, and I thought both the physical and digital effects looked great throughout.     

Audio/Video: Wildling (2018) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight in 1080p HD framed in 2.40:1 widescreen looking great, the digital cinematography looks solid and without blemish, blacks are good and deep, colors are nicely saturated, and the scope lensing nicely capturing the wooded environs of the film. The surround audio gives the film a nicely immersive sound field to play with, plenty of ambient noise and score to fill the surrounds. 

Extras are slim, we get a handful of deleted scenes and outtakes, plus a trailer for the film, the deleted scenes don't offer much but the outtakes include a fun scene of the special effects crew squirting fake bile into Bel Powley mouth and a scene of Liv Tyler riffing on the "I know what goes with ketchup" line. The single disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a 2-sided sleeve of artwork, the b-side is just a scene from the film and not a reversible artwork option, the disc featuring the same key art as the sleeve, and a slipcover that features a variant of the same artwork with higher contrast, deeper color saturation and a wolf added to the image.

Special Features: 
- Deleted Scenes (6 min) 
- Outtakes (4 min) 
- Trailer (1 min) 

Wildling (2018) is a solid coming of age creature film, if you're a fan of The Beast Within and Ginger Snaps this feral female transformation story is something you're gonna want to checkout, this is definitely one of the best of the IFC Midnight entries so far this year in my opinion. 

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