The Windmill may have caught your attention if you are a chronic Netflix Instant browser. The film’s poster presents an ashy gray-black palette with one burst of color dead-center in the flames which engulf the titular object.
Lurking above the fiery windmill are three black clouds doubling as eyes and nose.
There is no denying from the visual what you are about to see is a horror film. But what is unexpected, especially since there are so many bad horror movies out there, is just how effective this one is.
Really enjoyed new film on Netflix The Windmill. Good deaths. Hats off to Erik & Rob Hillenbrink, and Erin Stoffer for FX pic.twitter.com/y9MdXnXr3n
— jaye (@horrormadam) April 5, 2017
The plot of The Windmill, aka The Windmill Massacre, follows a group of unsuspecting tourists who “awaken a mysterious evil in the Dutch countryside after their tour bus breaks down, stranding them at an abandoned barn beside a sinister windmill where a miller used to grind the bones of locals” (hat tip IMDb).
In Tales from the Crypt fashion, each of the tourists has their own stories, their own dark pasts that are contributing factors to where they are now, on the chopping block and at the mercy of a chain-and-scythe-wielding killer.
Unlike most horror movies you will come across on Netflix, The Windmill has a crisp polish in every facet with a talented cast, well-drawn characters, convincing special effects, marvelous set design and direction, and an unmistakable sense of humor.
Charlotte Beaumont plays the role of Jennifer, a girl fleeing an abusive father who witnesses the murderous miller’s first kill and rallies to convince her companions there is something after them.
Along the way, more is revealed about the not-so-innocent cast of characters and the hidden bond they all share that may just end up sealing their doom.
In one sense, The Windmill is a standard terror tale where a lot of bad things happen. It has a tendency to revel in the excesses of its genre, from atmosphere to delivering the gory goods one victim at a time.
But it’s careful not to let the splashier elements overtake the stories it is juggling, and it all does come together rather nicely in a somewhat shocking finish.
You won’t necessarily have trouble going to sleep at night after watching The Windmill — it’s more of a popcorn horror type than psychological — but there are some genuine surprises throughout despite its safety-first mindset when it comes to ticking the horror boxes.
— HOR(iley)ROR (@HOR_iley_ROR) April 10, 2017
The film was released in its homeland on April 18, 2016, but just recently started its run on Netflix.
While the streaming platform appears to be moving away from star ratings, according to The Verge, it currently has a five out of five rating on the iTunes/AppleTV version of the product — quite rare for the horror genre as a whole.
Sure, you can nitpick. Director Nick Jongerius has shot his film in English despite the international pedigree, and while it plays well in the American market, it has some very minor cultural distractions like subbing “fromage” for “cheese” when snapping a photo.
Americans say “cheese” not because of some dairy photo fetish, but because it forces the mouth into a smile. “Fromage” just results in a lot of mouth-agape photograph subjects. Again, minor!
Bottom line: the musts in a film like this one — good villain and gruesome set pieces — are here in abundance, so horror fans are certain not to be disappointed.
What about you, readers? Have you checked out The Windmill yet? What were your thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by XLrator Media/Netflix]