Wounds (2019)
October 22, 2019 6:16 AM - Subscribe

Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar. A Hulu original.
posted by DirtyOldTown (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first half of this movie is a lived-in lap around seedy New Orleans barfly culture. Then it takes a hard turn into gnostic rituals about wounds used to summon beings.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:20 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The horror stuff felt extraneous; the real world stuff is masterful. Such great performances, such a world conjured.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:23 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Agree. I would have rather watched a movie about the bartender's complicated relationships with the barflies than whatever this mess we got was.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:42 AM on October 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I had no idea until the credits rolled that this was by Babak Anvari, the British-Iranian director of Under the Shadow. No wonder parts of it were good.

If you've stumbled onto this and haven't watched Wounds yet, skip it and see Under the Shadow instead.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this. I don't think it's actually a good film and it ends rather abruptly but I loved the mood and atmosphere and central performances (even while some of the characters are quite slight). An odd film even beyond the explicitly strange goings-on.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:30 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wounds is based on a short story by Nathan Ballingrud. I too would have preferred bartender's complicated relationship with barflies. That part of the story is based on the author's experiences so that realism came through. Often reality is far more terrifying than anything we can conjure and I think that happened here.

Having said that there were a lot of changes in the movie-making things more explicit was one of the major changes. There's not much suddenly the car is filled with bugs and more things aren't right, but it's not entirely clear what's wrong. Things more the Haunting of Hill House (the story).

Ballingrud has been hailed as a new voice in horror by authors like Jeff Vandermeer. It's easy to see why such an authorial voice wouldn't translate well into film and honestly when I read the story I was unsure why they would even try. There's another story in the same collection as Wounds that involves a book of gnosticism being traded in a cabin in the bayou. I think fusing those two stories was not only feasible, but probably would have given people the story arc they wanted.

Heading off to watch Under the Shadow.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:36 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

I can't read anything in this movie. Tense music will play while the guy is reading a text, but it's too small to see, and I'm not going to pause and squint at my TV.

Seems to me, I remember a time when the movies would zoom in when they wanted you to read something. Hollywood doesn't care to extend that courtesy these days. No, all Hollywood cares about now is CGI robots and gratuitous sex.
posted by riruro at 7:34 PM on October 22, 2019

A while ago I read on the A.V. Club that this movie was coming out. It sounded right up my alley so I bought and read the book that contains this story. I loved the whole book, which made me excited for the movie (the compilation is called “Wounds” but the story is called “The Visible Filth”). I watched the movie the day it came out on Netflix and found it a mixed bag.

It’s fun in that it’s a mostly faithful recreation of the story (although it plugs in a couple of extra inessential scary bits* To keep the viewer’s interest, and leaves out a couple of essential bits of context). But this is a story that is all about the internal life of the main character, the kind of thing movies rarely address well. Having read the story, I knew why Will was doing the things he did, but my SO who hadn’t read it only saw him behaving stupidly and nonsensically. (Which, yes, is how he behaves in the story, but at least you know why.) Unfortunately that lack of understanding makes the ending, which is actually great, seem like it comes out of left field.

So long story short, read the book, and if you liked it, watch the movie to experience the story again differently from the way you saw it in your head.

*I thought the scene where Garrett “visited” Will in his apartment was Really wonderful and horrifying.
posted by ejs at 8:25 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh and I agree that this movie did us a disservice by not zooming in on the text messages we needed to read.
posted by ejs at 8:26 PM on October 22, 2019

I've never been a New Orleans barfly or bartender, but I've been to New Orleans, I've been a bartender, and I've been perilously close to becoming a barfly. The scenes early on portraying the weird atmosphere/culture of dive bar patrons in the last hour or so before last call felt spot on. I would watch a series of that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

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