the wasteland (2021)

I read a lot of movie blogs – well, maybe not a ton like I used to but I read several (the ones that I like) (that most often cover non mainstream shit) and then there’s some that I knew from a long time ago and I just kind of peruse every now and then. I am positive and very sure that the ones that fall into that last bit could give absolutely zero shits if I follow or read them and that’s OK by me but one thing that always puts me off about those folks is their tendency to ONLY cover shit that is: a) brand new or 2) some sort of pretentious award bait or, most likely, C) something I would probably rather hurt myself than watch (or finish) (I’m looking at you Power of the Dog) (what a load of shit) (at least what I saw of it).

I won’t go into naming them on here because they probably wouldn’t want me to anyway because of things like “ewwwwwwwww Film Miasma??” or “Gross. Now I need a cooties shot.” or “That guy again??” but – I prefer the more esoteric or niche things that would actually point me in the direction of things I’d like to see. I’m looking at you [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED]. As it goes – I was reading someone’s post about this a week or so before I started writing this and they were extolling the grandness of it and its lasting effect on the movie wilderness or some such thing and probably using more words like atmospheric, eerie and epic and early Guillermoe del Toro for good measure.

So – I gave it a look!

Soooo – with that shit off my chest – I’m going to talk about what happens in this movie here in just a few minutes. Do you have your stopwatch going? Do you know what a stopwatch is? Are you ready to click the back button or just shut down altogether and go back to your spreadsheets or .ppts?

You know what happens in this movie? Nothing. I’m saying that as calmly and smoothly as I can without trying to be dramatic and use an exclamation point. Nothing really. This three person family lives out in a hut near a creek. They work the soil and kill rabbits to eat. One day some stranger floats up in a rickety boat, heals up a little and then blows his own head off so the dad decides to take his corpse back to wherever and find his family in a country consumed by some sort of war. The rest of the time the mom and son: take baths, play patty cake, hear some noises outside, see some things presumably because of the lightning and spend 75% of the movie lit by a fireplace.

I don’t think there was any point in this where I felt engaged, creepy, worried, interested, concerned or even attentive, really. Here’s the synopsis on IMDB: The tranquil lives of a family isolated from the rest of society are disturbed by a terrifying creature, testing the ties that bind them together. I know this is a Spanish movie but maybe some of that translation was missed? Maybe more like: a woman and her kid sit around in a hut waiting for the dad to get home and they get scared by noises and shadows. ? No? Here’s the larger storyline: Lucía and her son live far from society in a flat area where there is almost no life. The small family unit made up of mother and son receives hardly any visitors, and their goal is to develop a peaceful existence. At first they succeed, but the appearance of a mysterious and violent creature that begins to haunt their small house will put the relationship that unites them to the test. What about the dad?

Here’s the dad, riding off with the stranger’s corpse:

And that’s not a creepy crucifix in the background – that’s a scarecrow of sorts and – I’m sure I’m wrong because I’m stupid – but I’m pretttttttttttttttttty sure that’s what they keep seeing when the lightning flashes. And what they allude to in the poster at the top of this piece. I mean, there’s even one scene where they hear something banging on the door, they open it – and it’s one of those fucking things. “Wind must have blown it in,” says the mom. Disaster averted, kid.

Is this some sort of archaic Spanish fairy tale told to kids at night to keep them from going outside in the dark? To keep them from enlisting in the army? At one point they sing a song and pat hands and the song is about some guy who murdered his wife and made a pie out of her. Is that what happened and they’re both ghosts? And the dad left town with their bodies in a sack? I dunno. Writing this it did remind me of a banner I made for this site for a series of posts last spring that no one remembers but I do!

What were those called? Ah yes – “charms and dolls” – oh and I forgot I introduced a character to guide me along on this blog and then completely forgot about him. Shitboy! Maybe I should do another one or two of those. It’s always time for a good witch movie. Anyone want to pitch in? I doubt it – see paragraph 2.

Anyway I thought this movie was totally uneventful and boring and not at all even creepy. I kept hoping del Toro would walk by and fart or something and add some flavor to this thing but – nope. If you’re looking for a story about some people out in a house in the middle of nowhere, I also just watched Lamb and we could talk about that.

FILED UNDER: AT LEAST THEY TRIED

12 thoughts on “the wasteland (2021)

  1. Tom

    So I would rec you this one apocalyptic horror movie set in the woods, called It Comes at Night (maybe you watched/reviewed it, I can’t remember but I don’t remember reading your thoughts on it), but it also is super slow going and “not much happens.” I actually really dug it, but it’s that weird atmosphere creepy shit more than any visceral violence and shit. But I’ll tell you what, at least it doesn’t completely descend into an edit fest like Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually really liked It Comes At Night! I thought, I guess, even though not much happened there either, at least some things happened. Right? Maybe? Didn’t the guy who did that do Antlers? I just looked that up and I was wrong about that. Anyway – did you see Antlers?

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      1. Tom

        No man I really have been wanting to and I missed it in theaters to my medium-sized shame. It looks pretty cool and was, at one point, a part of this big package of films I was going to review end of December/early this year. I’ve gone through writer’s block like a motherfucker and was debating stopping blogging altogether but I think that’s overreacting. At some stage here I’m sure I’ll be motivated again. Toss me a hot dog smothered in urine and I’ll be good.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A hot dog smothered in urine?? Like, thick urine? Like —-> gravy???? I don’t know if that’s something even this blog can pull off… !

        Urine gravy… I’ll see what I can do.

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  2. This sounds boring. And I sometimes like movies where nothing happens but the characters need to be interesting in that case. Doesn’t sound like this even has that going for it. I’m curious about Lamb, though, as a lot of people have mentioned it. Is it any good??

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha that just reminded me of something for some reason. You’re a music person. Are you familiar with the song Little Willy by The Sweet? If so, you’re welcome for reminding you. If not, you’re welcome for bringing it to your attention : )

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hell yeah! I love The Sweet! Love Is Like Oxygen is my favorite! And love Ballroom Blitz, Fox On The Run and of course Little Willy. Was actually just saying to the hubby the other day that The Sweet were awesome & underrated and he told me I’m uncool. ☹️

        Liked by 2 people

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