Review by Adam Donato
While the horror season may have passed, the Christmas season needs counterprogramming for those who want to be scared year round. Shudder is a pillar of the horror community. A streaming service dedicated to horror round the clock, the service’s latest feature is A Wounded Fawn, a story about a woman trying to put herself back out there after her abusive past left her defensive and a man whose haunted psyche causes him to carry out unspeakable acts. Can this woman overcome her trauma and can the monster be kept at bay?
Co-written and directed by Travis Stevens, A Wounded Fawn is not unlike many horror features during today’s day and age. For the most part, it was reminiscent of Fresh, the Hulu original with Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar Jones. Both follow an innocent young woman who has been done wrong in the past and thinks she has found a guy that is truly different from the rest. Little did she know, he really is different from the rest. While the plot does feel derivative of other things as of late, where it separates itself is in the performances and the entity that’s causing the man to do such terrible things. While it’s not revolutionary in any way, these stand out parts go a long way to keeping this movie’s head above water.
Speaking of the performances, Sarah Lind and Josh Ruben both pull off pretty solid performances. Some may remember Ruben from his College Humor days, but he has had more recent experience in the horror genre. This is not Lind’s first attempt at the horror genre and she has even starred in some Hallmark-type Christmas movies and starred opposite Nicolas Cage in The Humanity Bureau. The two have very palpable chemistry until they suddenly don’t, which makes sense with the story. Since the plot is confined to mostly one location, there is a lot riding on these two’s shoulders and they carry the load well.
There’s a good deal of practical effects and scares in A Wounded Fawn. Specifically, the evil entity that haunts Ruben’s character is a threatening presence throughout. There’s also a lot of psychological scares that take place. This movie attempts similar themes to many female-led horror movies as of late. Horror movies reflect the real life things that are scary and creepy, dangerous men are towards the top of the list. This theme isn’t handled with the utmost grace, but it’s there despite its clunkiness.
A Wounded Fawn is a constant downward spiral for our main characters. Good performances and solid style keep this movie from falling into cliche territory. All horror fans should be sure to check this one out on the Shudder streaming service.
A Wounded Fawn is now streaming on Shudder.