A Wounded Fawn (2022)
December 2, 2022 11:27 AM - Subscribe

Inspired by surrealist art and Greek mythology, A Wounded Fawn follows the story of Meredith Tanning (Sarah Lind), a local museum curator who is dipping her toe back into the dating pool, only to be targeted by a charming serial killer (Josh Ruben). When a fateful romantic getaway between the two becomes a tense game of cat and mouse, both must confront the madness within him.

Directed and co-written by Travis Stevens.

96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available as a Shudder original. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:27 AM on December 2, 2022

As a video art installation, this is just fantastic. As a narrative movie, I mean, it's a great video art installation, you know what I mean?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:24 PM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

This would have needed a much, much stronger visual style for me to succeed.

And this feels weird to say, because the things chosen to put onscreen are interesting and wild.

But the visual composition is just fundamentally lacking. Just not the kind of baroque stylization this screams out for. The visuals from the story and design standpoint are so good, it kinda works anyway. Oh I can point to all kinds of stuff within the frame as being awesome-looking, but I don't think there is a shot or a frame in this that is print-a-still-and-hang-it-on-the-wall good.

Maybe watch like ten Bava films, fire your DP and start again.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2022

That last line was shitty and snarky.

But I really think this is a film that called for specific visual chops behind the camera that just weren't there, to my eyes.

I mean, even shooting this on 16mm didn't make it feel loved in, because the setups were all so rote. So many close-ups and mid shots, it still gave low budget digital filmmaking vibes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:28 PM on December 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine how much I would have hated this movie if I hadn't thought it looked good, lol. There's really nothing left at that point.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:01 PM on December 3, 2022

I really wanted to like this. There are pieces and elements that would work perfectly for something great. A lot of the artistic elements are doing the film huge favours. 16mm, costuming, props, all punching way above and beyond.

But then the characters start talking. The script is not working and the actors are really not working with it either. The movie is trying to get Josh Ruben to work in ways that he isn't good at and it feels like it's a combination of bad casting, bad acting, a bad script, and maybe also bad direction?

There are parts of this that are really pretty. There's a single shot of a pomegranate on a cutting board that I thought was gorgeous. But that's really all I can say.
posted by Neronomius at 8:08 PM on December 3, 2022

This is why I'm so conflicted! I did think every decision about what was in front of the camera looked good.

I felt like the vast, vast majority of decisions from behind the camera about how to frame those items were between mundane and crapulent.

I had similar (if milder) reservations about Jakob's Wife but in that case, I had my fondness for Barbara Crampton to smooth things over.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:11 PM on December 4, 2022

I dunno, I thought some of the steadicam shots when she first enters the cabin were pretty good. I do agree that the acting and cinematography were lackluster next to the costume design though.

Thie antagonist was a lot better at being charming than being menacing, and I didn't entirely see the point of the long psychic combat designed to catch the contradictions in his stories about how there's something inside of him that causes him to do bad things. Like, of all the things the Furies could punish this guy for, they go with "you're lying to yourself about your true motivations?"

Furthermore, that notion in itself is a pretty modern conception of how the mind works and doesn't really fit in with the Hellenistic themes of the rest of the movie.

Still, seen as static tableaux there were a lot of images I liked in this, especially once it got trippy towards the end.
posted by whir at 9:10 PM on December 9, 2022

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