Review by Camden Ferrell
From the opening shot of a dictionary entry for the word “vagina”, it’s clear that Wyrm is not your typical coming of age movie. This movie had its premiere in 2019 at Fantastic Fest, and it is the feature directorial debut of Christopher Winterbauer who also wrote the movie. This movie is reminiscent of an eccentric style that other filmmakers have done before, but this movie is able to still be fresh due to its offbeat nature and creative premise.
Set in an alternate reality resembling the aesthetic of the 90’s, this movie follows Wyrm, an awkward young boy, and his twin sister as they navigate growing up. In this world, the school has a mandated sexuality requirement that sees that the kids wear an electronic collar until they have their first kiss. Wyrm, being one of the last kids in his grade yet to satisfy this requirement, sets forth to grow up and avoid being embarrassed. This is a very interesting premise that feels unique and captures a lot of the awkwardness of growing up at that age.
When watching this movie, one is instantly reminded of the films of Todd Solondz or even the recent film Greener Grass. Like those movies, this one also follows an uncanny suburbia and tells its story as it revels in its awkwardness and slightly uncomfortable nature. While it might not always nail the themes and character development like those movies did, it still exceeds far beyond imitation to be its own thing.
The acting is strong from the main players. Theo Taplitz leads the film as the titular teenager, and he embodies this shy and awkward persona very well and is able to work well within the film’s unique style and tone. Azure Brandi steals the show as Wyrm’s twin sister, and in her first feature role, she proves that she is an actress to keep your eye on. She nails her eccentric and offbeat delivery while maintaining great chemistry with the rest of the cast.
There are a few moments where the movie can feel like it’s losing steam, but it is usually able to supplement this with some really touching moments that are more noticeable when the rest of the movie is intentionally covered in layers of cringe, awkwardness, and hormonal angst. While the overall message might be something we see often, the real charm of Winterbauer’s film is the way in which he tells it in a way that has never been done before.
Wyrm is offbeat, eccentric, and a fittingly cringe experience for the audience. We are able to be put in the protagonist’s shoes as he deals with the confusing nature of adolescence and growing up. Despite being dissimilar from our world in many ways, there is still a lot to relate to in this coming-of-age story that will hopefully make a name for its director and actors.
Wyrm is in theaters and on VOD June 10.
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