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Wendigo is a 2001 American independent psychological horror film written and directed by Larry Fessenden, starring Patricia Clarkson and Jake Weber.

George is a highly-strung professional photographer who is starting to unravel from the stress of his work. With his wife Kim and their eight-year old son, he travels to upstate New York to spend the weekend at a friend's country farmhouse. But a fluke accident in which George hits and kills a deer that a group of local hunters had been tracking for some time sets off a chain of events that forever changes their lives and conjures up the ferocious spirit of the Wendigo, a Native American myth made manifest in Miles' imagination.

Tropes:

  • Antagonist Title: The aforementioned wendigo.
  • Artistic License Religion: The wendigo in this film does not act like an actual wendigo in the legends: It is said that a wendigo is a malicious spirit that will possess humans to eat other humans. While the wendigo in the film is malicious and torments all the characters such as chasing Otis and it's implied its influence is what drives Otis to go after George and his family, it never once makes them go cannibalistic than anything else.
  • Break the Cutie: Miles goes from a relatively shy if well do kid to losing his father by the end of the movie.
  • Broken-Window Warning: Otis fires bullets through the windows of the Stuckey house even after George and his family have moved in in an attempt to drive the newcomers out (as well as to vent his frustration).
  • Dead Hat Shot: After the surgeon breaks the news of George's death to Kim, there is a close-up of his bloodstained boots sitting in the middle of the hospital corridor.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: George collides with a deer that Otis and his friends have been stalking for most of the day: badly injuring the deer and snapping one of the antlers. In retaliation, Otis launches a campaign of torment against the out-of-towners, culminating in him attempting to murder George. However, this actually symptomatic of far deeper issues that Otis has.
  • Downer Ending: Combined with Gainax Ending. George dies from his wounds, leaving Miles and Kim more or less broken from the experience of the trip (especially Miles). And while Otis does get punished by the Wendigo and is at the verge of death, we're left wondering if everything was in Miles's head or if the Wendigo truly exists.
  • Drop the Hammer: Otis murders The Sheriff by smashing his head in with a claw hammer.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film takes place over a single weekend.
  • Gainax Ending: Bordering Downer Ending too: George dies from his wounds, leaving Miles and Kim more or less broken from the experience of the trip (especially Miles). And while Otis does get punished by the Wendigo and is at the verge of death, we're left wondering if everything was in Miles's head or if the Wendigo truly exists.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Otis is a creepy good ol' boy hunter who takes an instant dislike to city-dweller George and goes out of his way to antagonize and threaten him.
  • Haunted House Historian: The mysterious Native American who appears behind the counter of the drugstore and gives Miles the wendigo figurine and tells him the legend of the wendigo. Assuming that he actually exists.
  • Hayseed Name: The creepy Good Ol' Boy who terrorizes the out-of-towners is named Otis.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: It is debatable whether the title monster actually exists, but murderous local Otis is all too real a threat, whose homicidal impulses may be caused by the wendigo or just the result of pre-existing psychological problems.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: A one-man version. A mysterious Native American behind the counter of the drugstore tells Miles the legend of the wendigo and gives him a wooden carving of the monster. When Kim looks around for him, he has vanished. Kim asks the shopkeeper about it, she says that she is the only one who works here and that Kim and Miles are the only customers she's had all day.
  • Lovecraft Country: Takes place in an isolated farmhouse in snowbound upstate New York, possibly being stalked by the mythological Wendigo.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is left up to the viewer to decide if there actually is a wendigo or not.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Possibly. Like so much in the movie, it is left to the viewer to decide if the Native American who gives Miles the wendigo figure, and who later appears at the hospital, is real or is only a figment of Miles' imagination.
  • One-Word Title: Wendigo, of course.
  • The Peeping Tom: Creepy Good Ol' Boy Otis spies on George and Kim while they having sex.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Sheriff of the small upstate town is willing to overlook Otis taking potshots at the empty Stuckey house because of the bad hand Otis has been dealt. However, as soon as he learns that Otis has actually shot George, he goes out to Otis' place to arrest him. His attempt to be reasonable and allow Otis to come along on his own terms gets him killed.
  • The Sheriff: The sheriff of the small upstate town is a Reasonable Authority Figure who is willing to overlook Otis taking potshots at the empty Stuckey house because of the bad hand Otis has been dealt. However, as soon as her learns that Otis has actually shot George, he goes out to Otis' place to arrest. His attempt to be reasonable and allow Otis to come along on his own terms gets him killed.
  • Snow Means Death: All of the horror and death occurs in the beautiful snow shrouded countryside of upstate New York, where the crimson blood is in stark contrast to the pure white snow. George even quotes the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost when commenting on the beauty of the cold and the snow, shortly before he gets shot while sledding.
  • Wendigo: The Wendigo in this is a deer-headed man that may or may not exist. The movie leaves it up to the viewer but the more likely explanation for the cannibals in the movie are real psychological problems.
  • Window Watcher: After George and Kim move into the Stuckey house, Otis starts spying on them through the windows.


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