Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Windmill: This is Holland
Wind power will never be a practical
alternative to fossil fuels, because it is intermittent. That means it doesn’t
always blow. However, an old Dutch miller named Hendryk came up with a
solution. He sold his soul to the devil to keep his big wheel turning. It
turned out he was grinding up more than grain in there. Centuries later, the
old Miller keeps coming back for more victims in Nick Jongerius’s The Windmill (trailer here), which opens tomorrow
in Los Angeles.
An Australian teen is on the run from the
law, so logically she comes to Holland. An American businessman trying to keep
his hemophiliac teenage son away from his embittered ex-wife also chooses
Holland for a sudden getaway vacation. They all wind-up in a motley tour group
making the rounds of windmill country. Naturally, the bus breaks down, forcing
them to spend the night in a mysterious windmill that is not on any of the
It turns out this old Hendryk’s abode.
According to legends, the devil decided to give him a permanent roster spot
after the peasants gave him the torch and pitchfork treatment. Clearly, he is
still out there, hacking and slashing away. He could also be behind the guilt
trip hallucinations everyone is having. Takashi the Japanese tourist might just
have the game figured out, but the only one he can talk to is an AbFab-ish former model, who used to have
a lot of work in Japan. Alas, she is not as focused as she should be.
carries the best tag line of the year: “This isn’t Hell. This is Holland.”
Jongerius and screenwriters Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid even have a
character say the line, making it totally legit. The backstory is also totally
creepy and the underlying Macguffin is pretty compelling in an Old Testament
kind of way. However, there is too much conventional slasher movie business
that keeps Windmill firmly ensconced
in meathead movie terrain.
Charlotte Beaumont (the older sister in Broadchurch) is not terrible as
Australian Jennifer and Tanroh Ishida is quite good as the Japanese Takashi. Unfortunately,
Patrick Baladi and Adam Thomas Wright are strictly groansville as the father
and son. However, Bart Klever upstages everyone as Abe, the world’s worst tour
If Jongerius had been more ambitious, The Windmill might have been a real
genre standout. Instead, it is just a serviceable Halloween programming choice.
Recommended for hardcore fans of Dick Maas’s Dutch horror films (Saint, etc.), The Windmill opens tomorrow (10/28) in LA, at the Arena Cinelounge.
Labels: Dutch cinema, Horror Movies