Wounds is a horror film that was written and directed by Babak Anvari, releasing in 2019. Based on the novella The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud, this film adaption stars Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, and Zazie Beetz.
Will is a bartender who works at a run-down cockroach-infested bar. One evening, Alicia (one of his exes), her boyfriend Jeffrey, a drunk Eric, and a group of college kids enter the bar. Eric gets into a fight with another guest, resulting in Eric being stabbed in the cheek with a broken bottle. The kids leave the bar in a panic and Will discovers one of them has left their phone behind. Will returns to his house, which he shares with his student girlfriend Carrie. While inspecting the phone, he receives messages from someone called Garrett, who claims that he is scared and something from the “tunnel” is following him.
The next morning, Will awakens to discover that overnight, Garrett has sent the phone a photo that shows a pile of bloody teeth. Carrie insists they call the police. Will visits Eric and inspects his wound which appears to be infected. Eric claims he is suffering from nightmares. Returning home, Will discovers photos and videos on the phone of a corpse and decapitated head being surrounded by cockroaches. Carrie sees the footage and forces Will to hand it over to the police. She discovers a book in one of the photos entitled “The Translation of Wounds”. They call Garrett and hear an inhuman screeching on the other end.
While driving to the station, Will spots one of the college kids following him and receives messages from another member of the group, stating that he “has been chosen”.
What is going on? Check out Wounds to find out.
There are a number of intriguing ideas floating around in Wounds. The initial mystery that it presents surrounding the phone and its disturbing content is compelling. It sort of reminded of “The Ring” which became more apparent when a certain video clip involving an endless tunnel is introduced. Then, there’s mention of Gnostic rituals which state that a wound is a portal for higher beings to enter the world. This got me quite excited about what was to come but it all ends up feeling underwhelming in the end. In fact, as I am writing this review I cannot say that I fully grasp what the hell it was even about.
Additionally, Wounds is filled to the brim with unlikeable characters with many feeling like pointless inclusions. Will has pretty much no redeeming qualities and this is the guy you’re stuck with. I know this is clearly intentional because the film makes a point of saying how much of a shell of a human being he is. Regardless, I kind of wanted to see him suffer in some way but we don’t always get what we want.
Wounds suffers from being far too slow paced as well. It’s the type of horror film that you’re willing to stick with as long as the payoff is worthwhile. This long winded journey ends up feeling rather mundane in hindsight.
To be fair to Wounds, it does deliver a couple of genuinely creepy moments. Also, the effects are pretty good and the acting isn’t any issue either.
Overall, Wounds feels like something of an acquired taste. It has a convoluted message that didn’t resonate with me and has only a few minute redeeming qualities. Might you feel differently? Only one way to find out.
The Final Score - 3/10