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[FrightFest Review] ‘The Windmill Massacre’ Isn’t Your Average Slasher

The Windmill Massacre

I went into The Windmill Massacre hoping for a new old-school slasher franchise-starter, in the vein of something like Hatchet, say. But, director, Nick Jongerius, is playing a different game.

The film opens in Amsterdam with a fluid set of character introductions to establish our ensemble. We’ve got the young Australian with a dark past (Charlotte Beaumont), the workaholic father (Patrick Baladi) taking his son (Adam Thomas Wright) on holiday, a marine on leave with his unit (Ben Batt), and so on. As their stories start to interlock, they are brought together for a bus tour of some of Holland’s rural landmarks. But, when they break down near a dilapidated windmill, talk of the legend of a murderous miller doesn’t exactly calm the nerves.

It’s a solid set-up and the international roster of characters in a foreign land is a nice touch. Jongerius has likened his approach to the ensemble as that of a 70s disaster movie, which is case in point that he has more on his mind than just Freddy and Jason. The cast are strong and certainly stand above your generic slasher movie performances, partly because they’re actually given something to do.

There’s a lot of time given over to exploring each character and Jongerius and his writers, Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid, avoid generic archetypes in favour of more layered creations. It works well, but it does distract slightly from the horrors to come. Which is a shame because Jongerius and the production team have got some neat ideas. The killer is well designed, and his specific profession makes The Miller stand out from other death-dealing big-screen brutes. The kills don’t quite do justice to the interesting villain, but there are still some squelchy treats to be had and they’re well spaced out amongst the more mundane kills.

Jongerius has spoken about his desire to avoid making The Windmill Massacre a straightforward slasher film, and to instead lean towards the supernatural in the character’s origin story. This also applies to the execution and, like I said, Jongerius doesn’t necessarily give us all the slasher tropes we may be waiting for. The characters take precedence over the kills and the film subverts the final girl tradition for something a bit less action-packed, although a cruel turn of fate means we’re not left short of splatter. There’s also an earlier twist that happily caught me off guard, and provided another interesting subversion of conventional slasher movie character dynamics.

There’s a lot to like about The Windmill Massacre, but it didn’t quite pull together for me. It’s more satisfying in hindsight than it was actually watching it, but that’s something I think a second watch may settle. But, until then, I recommend Jongerius’ film, just don’t go in expecting it to play by the rules.



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COMMENTS

15 Comments
  • Blade4693

    I want to check this out. I need to watch a new original Slasher film…the last one I think I watched was probably Lumberjack man or w.e it was called but that was more of a comedy lol

    • Halloween_Vic

      Same here blade!!

  • THGrimm

    This sounds awesome and I love the picture. I look forward to it!

  • J Jett

    this is definitely on my “must see” list!

    • This is random but have you been watching Dead of Summer? I just finished the finale and it was basically one big slasher chase scene AND it was directed by Steve Miner who did F13 part 2. The show wasn’t the best but the last couple of episodes were worth it.

      • J Jett

        Zach, yes! i watched season 1 of DS and you are 100% spot on that it was 1 long chase scene! i had no idea Miner directed the ep but not it’s clicking for me! so many parts of the finale reminded me of F13 & F13 part 2 (like when Deb’s dead body is hanging against the wall…totally reminded me of part 2’s Jeff hanging against the wall). i agree that most of the eps were meh… but the last couple of eps were pretty good. the finale was IMO excellent.

        • After the pilot I stopped watching, and one day out of lack of anything else to watch I binged the next few that if missed. While wholly uneven, it managed to pack in more surprises than the entirety of Scream season 2. That twist with the “final girl” REALLY caught me off guard. I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming. And also the shot of her crashing through the window made me yelp and was right out of F13 2.

          • Overton Green

            Zack

            Where can you watch Dead Of Summer? I been looking but don’t see it available anywhere.

          • You can watch it for free on freeform’s website using your cable subscription. If you don’t have one, it’s on Hulu right now and I’m sure it’ll be on Netflix soon as they also have PLL there too. Hope that helps.

  • I certainly want to check this out. I remember seeing the short they did for this and it was pretty brutal and intense.

  • J Jett

    i don’t know why this site doesn’t post trailers for it’s movies it reviews. but here’s the trailer for this film…

  • diapers

    Wow, certainly looks crazy. Anyone notice the psychotic Dutch windmill guy is wearing dutch boy spiked shoes? I like that.

  • I’ve wondered the same thing. Official suggestion: post trailers at the bottom of reviews when available. Thanks.

  • J Jett

    oh cool! thanx Zach. 🙂

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