Film: Wendigo Falls
Director: Ian Messenger
Writer: Ian Messenger
Starring: Amy Beckwith, Robert Irwin and Ian Messenger
This is a short film that I got the pleasure of seeing when the writer/director/star of this reached out to me via Instagram. Since I enjoy checking out independent cinema, I decided to give this a viewing. The synopsis is a group of up-and-coming social media influencers attempt to locate the largest geocache of all time, but are instead met with the horrific mysteries of Wentiko Falls.
We start this off with Blaine (Messenger) and his girlfriend of Charlotte (Amy Beckwith) getting into the car to pick up their third member of the group Adam (Robert Irwin). From interactions and things said, it appears that Charlotte might not be the biggest fan of Adam. Regardless, they head out to the desert.
Their journey starts off normal enough until they come to a cave. There’s a smell coming from it that is overpowering. This is just the beginning of their discoveries though. They find a group of buildings that aren’t on a map along with what appears to be a human skull on a pole. Adam is spooked by all of this and Blaine is at the time, but once calming down, he wants to continue on. They must decide to keep searching or call it quits.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap there as this runs 20 minutes and I don’t want to give anything more away. Where I’ll start here is the title of this short. I didn’t realize they were looking for Wentiko Falls and how they’re doing a bit of play on that calling this Wendigo Falls. This Native American deity is creepy and I’m all for movies using it.
Something I haven’t brought up yet is that this is found footage as well. Blaine and Adam both have their phones out to record everything that they’re doing. When it comes to movies that use this filming style, you need a reason why they don’t put the camera down. This works for me with them being wannabe social media influencers. They need to catch something on camera and would probably film more than they should to capture that. This is also strategic as things get spooky and I’ll be honest, helps with the atmosphere later into this.
Next I should go into the acting. I think our trio plays well off each other. We get Blaine and Adam having a bit of a heart to heart in if Blaine plans to propose. I like Beckwith’s attitude as Charlotte as she is quick with quips. They feel like a group that knows each other well. Charlotte has a creepy scene in the bedroom. The only time I had issues was when Messenger was acting scared near the end. I don’t feel the actual panic, but it doesn’t ruin anything. I did want to give praise as well to Cameron Waggoner in his minor role as well.
Then the last parts I want to delve into are the location for the filming and the effects. I like the desert looking location. It gives the feel of isolation and adds the element when the characters are thinking of possible reasons for things they’re seeing. The one that works best was did they stumble upon something that could involve the cartel, which is terrifying. Aside from that, the effects used looked good. There is the head we see and some odd things set up like you’d see in The Blair Witch Project. The look of Waggoner’s character is also quite creepy. They use camera angles and movements to hide it which helps. I should also state that all of the sound is diagetic and adds another layer of realism as well.
So then in conclusion here, this is a solid short horror film. Something I hadn’t said yet is my stance on shorts. You either have a perfect story or one that could be fleshed out into something more. These are the two categories for ones that I like. I put this one in the latter category. I think there is something more here that they could tell and it intrigues me. I would like to see this fleshed out more. We have decent acting. A solid premise and the effects work. The found footage angle makes sense and it doesn’t bother me. I’d say this is over average for me. No glaring issues and fun little film to check out that made me feel uneasy the longer it went.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10
If you’d like to see this short, it is slated for release on October 1st, 2021 over on YouTube.