What can you say about “Wildling” without spoiling the surprise?
You certainly can discuss the first third of the movie, which involves a creepy Brad Dourif playing Daddy to a young woman he has been raising in isolation since birth.
Her name is Anna (Bel Powley), and she doesn’t know why she’s being held. In some circumstances, you might suspect that a bit of sexual abuse is going on, especially considering Daddy’s creepiness. But that doesn’t seem to be what this about.
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Still, it’s obvious than Anna is reaching puberty and that Daddy is anxious about it.
The one day, Anna’s existence is discovered by the outside world, and Anna gets a new caretaker – Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler), a sheriff who discovers Anna and tries to introduce her to school and day-to-day life.
Good luck with that, sheriff. (Here’s where the possible spoilers start.)
Director Fritz Bohm has created a misunderstood creature for the ages – a young woman who matures into something regular guys just aren’t able to handle. Anna, you see, is a wildling, which Bohm describes as “a nearly extinct parallel branch of homo sapiens that has survived until present day.”
Bohm says he was inspired by the werewolf motif in creating “Wildling” but that he has done away with the full moon and silver bullets. Instead, Anna’s lusty, wild instincts are driven by her maturation, her natural instincts to procreate, to eat and to survive.
It’s a parable, with supernatural and horror undertones. But it’s also a metaphor for being yourself. In the case of “Wildling,” being yourself can be quite dangerous to others.
“Wildling” premiered Saturday at the Zach as part of SXSW. It screens again at 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Stateside and at 12:30 p.m. March 15 at the Paramount. Grade: B-