There are demons in the frontier in “The Wind,” an ominous and well-crafted low-budget horror thriller with a sneakily feminist bent.
In a cabin in the Old West in the late 1800s, young frontier woman Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard) is having a bad time. Her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) and their neighbor Gideon Harper (Dylan McTee) have left Lizzy alone while they ride to town for supplies — but not before burying Gideon’s wife Emma (Julia Goldani Telles), who had a large section of her head blown off by a shotgun. Also in the casket is Emma’s stillborn baby, whom Lizzy tried unsuccessfully to deliver by Caesarean.
Director Emma Tammi and screenwriter Teresa Sutherland toggle between Lizzy’s lonely ordeal in the Macklin cabin and flashbacks to how Lizzy and Isaac lived happily until the arrival of the Harpers, when bad things started to happen. Lizzy and Emma become convinced that demons, like the ones listed in a pamphlet given to them by a traveling preacher (Miles Anderson), are haunting the prairie — but the menfolk won’t listen to their concerns.
Tammi stages moments of terror that are effectively chilling, small moments that deploy the tiny budget to maximum chills. The most startling effect in “The Wind” is Gerard, who appeared in “Insidious: The Last Key” and “American Crime,” and shows here that she can carry a movie with her stillness, her steely resolve, and her fiery eyes.
Opened April 5 in select cities; opens Friday, April 12, at the Tower Theatre (Salt Lake City). Rated R for violence/disturbing images, and some sexuality. Running time: 88 minutes.