Wildling Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Fritz Böhm
Written by Fritz Böhm and Florian Eder
2018, 93 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on August 7th, 2018
Bel Powley as Anna
Liv Tyler as Ellen Cooper
Brad Dourif as Daddy
Collin Kelly-Sordelet as Ray Cooper
Mike Faist as Lawrence
James Le Gros as The Wolf Man
Troy Ruptash as Roger Fowler
Daddy tells young Anna tales of monsters called Wildlings that eat children who venture outside the house. Daddy loves Anna and cares for her but keeps her confined to the attic for years until she becomes a teenager. To suppress her hormonal development, he gives her daily injections of “medicine” that will stunt her growth. Anna wakes in the hospital, unaware of her surroundings and terrified by being away from the safety of her room. The doctors want to put her in foster care, but Sheriff Ellen Cooper steps in and offers to keep the girl until more suitable relatives can be found. Ellen lives with her teenage brother Ray, who helps teach Anna about school, society and the outside world in general. Anna tries her best to get along within her new surroundings, but soon finds herself undergoing changes that make her very uncomfortable. Something very real is going on with Anna, but exactly what is the core mystery at the heart of this story.
Making his feature debut, director Fritz Böhm delivers a fresh spin on a dark fairy tale with Wildling. Working from a script he co-wrote with Florian Eder, he introduces our young heroine to a strange new world filled with fantastic sights and sounds. This is a coming-of-age story that takes on elements of the horror genre as Anna makes her way down the path to self-discovery. The script is populated with complex characters that do not always easily fit into one traditional storytelling category. Böhm works well with his cast and together they deliver solid performances across the board. Cinematographer Toby Oliver (Get Out) helps to create a beautiful world that comes to life as Anna discovers new things and really takes over once she ventures back into the woods.
Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) stars as Anna, the stranger in a strange land making her way through high school and other social challenges. She delivers a haunting performance and appears in almost every scene, shouldering the weight of the picture with ease. Liv Tyler (The Strangers) is Sheriff Cooper, the take-charge woman determined to help Anna find her way home. Tyler and Powley are great together with the former taking on a nice maternal role that is at once natural and welcome as Ellen gives Anna the love she desperately needs. Daddy is a complicated character well-realized by the always excellent Brad Dourif (Exorcist III), who plays both caregiver and adversary with a sympathetic touch. Dourif brings a distinct style to the role that in less capable hands would merely be a two-dimensional villain. Collin Kelly-Sordelet (Radium Girls) is sympathetic as Ellen’s brother Ray, who helps protect Anna from outside influences. Indie veteran actor James Le Gros (Phantasm II), who is at first unrecognizable under his many layers of wolf pelts, plays the role of spirit guide. The character is a bit of a cheat that shows up only when Anna needs some additional help, but it is nice to see Le Gros on screen again, even in this limited capacity.
Wildling has some pacing problems, especially in the second half where things move too quickly, but is a satisfying experience overall. It doesn’t garner repeat viewings, but is a strong enough story to satisfy viewers looking for something a little different on a Friday night. Check it out for Powley and Dourif’s performances alone. There are a few brief moments of graphic violence and a little bit of blood, but nothing scary. It fails as a genre picture but works as a grim fairy tale.
Video and Audio:
Wildling is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the picture looks terrific for the most part, though some night scenes are a bit darker than others making it difficult to always see what is going on. That being said, black levels are rich and colors are lush with natural-looking flesh tones throughout.
A DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the default setting here and it sounds pretty terrific. The first half of the picture is dialogue-driven and levels are clear and free from distortion. As Anna makes her way through the woods later on, there are some nice isolated sound effects.
Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.
A collection of deleted scenes (6 minutes) offers a few more character beats, but were wisely cut for pacing.
A reel of outtakes (4 minutes) reveals the cast laughing throughout the production.
The original trailer is included.
Trailers for additional IFC Midnight features play upon disc startup.