The Windmill Massacre Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Pellicola
Directed by Nick Jongerius
Written by Nick Jongerius, Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid
2016, 85 minutes, Not yet rated
Frightfest world premiere on 29th August 2016
Noah Taylor as Nicholas
Patrick Baladi as Douglas
Charlotte Beaumont as Jennifer
Ben Batt as Jackson
Fiona Hampton as Ruby
On a windmill tour of rural Holland, a coach and its grumpy inhabitants (smile! You’re on holiday!) are stranded in the spooky middle of nowhere, with only a creepy old windmill for shelter and to keep them amused. If you thought that our sour-faced heroes and heroines were all acting a little shadily, you’d be right – one by one, their less-than-savoury pasts are revealed, to a menace that appears to lustily feed on that sort of thing.
There is a lengthy history and tradition of films with ‘massacre’ in the title not being as good as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (or even actively terrible), and many of them, perhaps not coincidentally, follow a similar plot template – dimbulb Westerners encounter cannibalism abroad, die. The Windmill Massacre, at least, doesn’t feature any cannibalism. What it does have is a scary looking windmill (the clue’s in the title), some whining ingrates from around the world, and a cross between Jason Voorhees, a scarecrow and the plot of Sphere mashed into a freak of the week Star Trek/Supernatural episode.
They are, at least, semi-recognisable ingrates. If, like me, you get a kick out of seeing semi-recognisable British TV stars show up in your horror movie(simple pleasures, and all that) one should enjoy much of The Windmill Massacre. The jerk boss out of The Office (not David Brent) Patrick Baladi shows up as a Spielbergian type bad dad, neglecting his son and constantly taking phone calls from the office (not that one) when he should be doing selfies with his son. Creepy face Noah Taylor is also enjoyable as a slimy doctor, while Shameless star Ben Batt completes the Brit flick feel as a leery ex-soldier type. Everyone in it is competent enough, but there are no real standout performances, save for troubled mind Jennifer, one half of the film’s leading pair, and who nobody believes when she says that there’s a killer on the loose. The other is but a child, but relax, Adam Thomas Wright is fine as little Curt, letting the adults take the lion’s share of being annoying complainants about everything. To be fair, this is a group of people who would willingly sign up to a tour of famous windmills in the first place, so it’s probably a bit unreasonable to expect any of them to be fun, charismatic or likeable.
While the story is mildly predictable, there is some fun to be had in the various methods of dispatch about the place. Feet are lopped off, heads are squashed and blood is shed. It’s more psychological than it is a full-on slasher movie or gorefest, but there’s enough good old fashioned splatter (all ‘real’ prosthetics, no CGI!) to keep both audiences amused and entertained. Certainly more amusement and entertainment than you’ll get from the dull-as-ditchwater characters, anyway. This gore is also accompanied by some mildly surreal sort-of nightmare sequences, all of which combine to create a pervading sense of mystery throughout and a distraction from what could have been just another by-the-numbers slasher movie. Not all of it works, and the cliché does become tiresome after a while – shouldn’t horror movies be ready by now to do away with nobody believing the heroine when she says there’s a killer on the loose?
In spite of its fairly multicultural cast, The Windmill Massacre feels exactly like what it is – a low-budget British horror film with only limited value outside of its slightly inventive methods of murder. It’s one of the less offensive or incompetent movies to have the word ‘massacre’ in the title, packing in some genuinely good gore and scares amidst its moments of mediocrity. Far from being just another Texas Chain Saw Massacre rip-off, this homage just about has the bluster to stand on its own two feet.