October 31, 2016 The Windmill (Movie Review)
When most people think of The Netherlands, they probably think of Amsterdam, clogs, tulips, or perhaps windmills. What they do not think of is those windmills being gateways to hell. Latest Horror flick, The Windmill, brings a whole new dimension and perspective to the region of Holland and the idea of windmills. Written and directed by Nick Jongerius (Dood eind 2006, Frankenstein’s Army 2013) with co-writers Chris W. Mitchell (Frankenstein’s Army 2013, The Pool 2014) and Suzy Quid (debut film), The Windmill was released on VOD October 25th and in theaters on October 28th via XLrator Media. Originally titled The Windmill Massacre, this film is not what the title implied and not a standard Slasher film.
In the beginning, the audience is introduced to a number of people all involved in their own reasons, not all of them immediately apparent, for being on a tour bus together. Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont: BroadChurch series, Jupiter Ascending 2015), an young Australian woman, is hiding from the police. She is joined by Nicholas (Noah Taylor: Game of Thrones series, Edge of Tomorrow 2014), a doctor with a shady past, businessman Douglas (Patrick Baladi: The International 2009, Rush 2013), his son Curt (Adam Thomas Wright: The Awakening 2011, The Physician 2013), French photographer and former model Ruby (Fiona Hampton: Kingsman: The Secret Service 2014, The Collection series), marine Jackson (Ben Batt: Shameless series, Captain America: The First Avenger 2011), Chinese tourist Takashi (Tanroh Ishida: 47 Ronin 2013, The Railway Man 2013), who is grieving his grandmother’s death, and Bus Driver Abe (Bart Klever: Killer Babes 2007, The Pool 2014) for a bus ride seeing the various windmills along the countryside.
As they travel, a couple of them get to know each other and they chat between stops. Nicholas notices Jennifer has an empty prescription of antipsychotic medication in her bag. After stopping at one particular windmill, the bus’s engine floods and the group are stuck. What started off being a shortstop while they get help, escalates when night falls, the bus falls into a lake, Curt is injured and requires medical help, and there is no one around, nor any phone service.
Jennifer and Jack leave the bus and go to the nearby mill in hope of finding someone. Along the way, Jack is brutally killed by a psychopath wearing clogs and wielding a scythe. She escapes and warns everyone on the bus, but Nicholas advises them he believes she is out of her meds and had a psychotic break. Hence, no one on the bus believes her. Jennifer, Nicholas, Douglas, Curt, Ruby, Takashi, and Abe go to the mill together, all the while looking for Jack.
Once they get to the mill, they tie Jennifer up, believing her to be a danger to herself and others. Nicholas finds an old newspaper story about a local Miller, Handrake (Kenan Raven: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo 2005, Brother’s Keeper 2008), many years ago who had burned to death in his mill. Nicholas wanders outside, Abe tells them there is more to it. Handrake made a deal with the devil to ensure his mill was successful. In the course of doing so, he began killing and grinding up locals. When they discovered what he did, they burned the mill down with him in it. Abe assures the group it is not the same mill as it is still standing.
However, one by one, the group are brutally killed, leaving a handful of survivors, including Jennifer, to figure out what is going on. With the evidence thrust in their faces, Doug, Curt, and the others are forced to realise Jennifer’s right and not crazy. Once they agree, it does not take long to discover they all share something in common that ties them to the Miller and their fate. Will they find redemption before death or are sinners doomed for hell?
The Windmill is a masterful tale, with twists and turns keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. It offers more than gory and superb special effects, its complex plot takes the viewer on a whirlwind journey of both mind and emotion. That said, one can never be sure who is going to be killed next or why, it simply does not follow the usual cliche Horror movie formula. The cinematography by Bart Beekman (Verliefd op Ibiza 2013, Frankenstein’s Army 2013) is solidified by the skillful editing by Jeffrey De Vore (Spangas series, 4Jim series).
From the seamless acting to the killer effects and plot, The Windmill is truly a joy for Horror fans to watch. The open ending holds the promise of a sequel, but The Windmill will leave fans content to watch it repeatedly, for now. The complexity of the story most certainly lends itself to a broader audience, with similarities to films such as 2015’s After Death and They Found Hell. The combined writing of Jongerius, Mitchell, and Quid create a cross-cultural story that has the potential to become this generations A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween series. For this reason, CrypticRock gives The Windmill 5 out of 5 stars.