Review: Wounds (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Wounds
Rating: R
Director: Babak Anvari
Starring: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz
Runtime: 1hr 34min

What It Is: Will (Armie Hammer) is a charming bartender who works at Rosie’s. One night at work, a bar fight causes a college student to leave behind their phone. After returning home, Will finds out their passcode and attempts to contact the phone owner’s “friends” but instead finds disturbing photos of what seems to be a sacrificial, demon ritual. Will races to find the answer and escape his fate when told he is “chosen” over text message.

What We Think: What a doozy. The viewing that awaits you (if you happen to be a masochist) is painfully confusing, irritating, and empty. Not even coherent or incoherent enough to be laughable. While the premise and source material of Wounds would appear promising (it being based on Nathan Ballingrud’s The Visible Filth), it offers the viewer nothing but a schlock of meaningless clues and irritatingly random jumpscares. What you have to look forward to is a barrage of seemingly mysterious, gory, spooky events coming at you left and right, and then—nothing. For a film that’s constantly relying on setting up the expectation of a big scary payoff, expect nothing in return but a wasted hour and a half of your life. There is no payoff, there are no connections to all the components. What we have here is a hodge-podge. A clusterf*ck. Literally, we have it all: monsters, insects, demons, ghosts, rituals, cults, mythology, creepy kids, a scary video—all cluing us to believe that they’re all connected. But then… nothing! Before you know it, the movie’s over. There’s barely a sense of climax, of resolution, or even of intensity. 95% of the film is building up to something bigger… and then something random happens and that’s it. The ending felt like one big cockblock. The film ended, and the whole theater I was in was aghast; laughing, even. I among them couldn’t help but ogle at the screen and let out a flat chuckle and a confused “huh?”.

Our Grade: F+, This film will fade into the background. If you have an inept fear of roaches, then maybe you’ll get something out of this “horror.” The acting was not really all that impressive as the writing and story are overwhelmingly nonsensical. Quite a few of the characters and their plot threads are actually useless. The whole thing was just silly. And if you’re wondering why this flick is really titled ‘Wounds,’ I suspect it’s simply a warning for what you’ll be left with after watching this blue-balling tropefest.

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Chai Simone Written by: