Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Wendigo

Tales like Algernon Blackwood's classic "The Wendigo" electrify our fur by pricking at our most primitive, arboreal fear: that of becoming prey. "The Wendigo"'s direct descendant, The Blair Witch Project, took a modern approach, made possible by the medium of film: it placed the audience behind the eyes of the characters. One can't do that in the theater, of course. But one might imagine staging a wordy story like "The Wendigo" by turning it inside out, snaking deep into the minds of the characters in some other way. Playwright Eric Sanders has chosen to tell the story straight, though. Essentially true to the action of the original, his 45-minute version relies heavily, as did the original story, on atmosphere. Here it's created by the trusty trappings of B-movie horrordom: insistent sound effects, spooky music, sudden and extreme lighting changes, a murky forest set - along with that modern theatrical staple, projection. But this is "The Wendigo" minus the rich texture of Blackwood's prose, and the special effects don't fully make up for that.

Read the full review.

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