HomeFilmArrow Video FrightFest: ‘A Wounded Fawn’ review

Arrow Video FrightFest: ‘A Wounded Fawn’ review

Meredith (Sarah Lind) has escaped an abusive relationship and has fallen for her new beau Bruce (Josh Ruben). A seemingly nice man, Bruce invites Meredith to speak a weekend with him in his cabin so they can get to know one another better and spend time together. What Meredith doesn’t realise is that Bruce is actually a twisted serial killer and he intends to add her to his collection of victims.

‘A Wounded Fawn’ is the latest film from director Travis Stevens (‘Girl on the Third Floor’) and it’s shot like a 70s grindhouse movie. That aesthetic actually suits the slowly unfolding story well and it definitely grabs your attention from the beginning. The film opens with the introduction of Kate (Malin Barr), a woman who bids on a sculpture of Wrath of the Erinys (a depiction of the three Goddesses of vengeance and retribution in Greek mythology), and is quickly dispatched by Bruce who wants it for himself. That sculpture underpins the entire film, which is an uneven and at times heavy-handed comment on the misogyny of men towards women.

Upon arriving at the cabin, Meredith instantly notices the sculpture leading Bruce to claim it’s a copy and not the original. As Meredith’s suspicions mount about her new love, she experiences strange things at the cabin and receives a call from a friend warning her that Bruce might be dangerous. From that point on the film transforms from a tense slow-burn thriller into something altogether headier and more abstract. Bruce sees a Red Owl that compels him to kill Meredith and once he takes his chance, things don’t work out quite the way he expected after she fights back.

A Wounded Fawn
Credit: Shudder

With a severe head wound, Bruce’s grasp on reality loosens and he’s taunted by the Goddesses depicted in the statue. As he tries to determine what is real and what is potentially related to his head injury, the film tries to dig into the fears that women have towards men, and why they are right to be cautious of men they don’t know. Stevens and his co-writer Faudree do have some observations to share but you can’t help but feel that the input of a woman in the screenplay could have made things sleeker and bit less on the nose.

The two leads give strong performances. Sarah Lind is believable as Meredith, even if you do question some of her character’s decisions given her background, and Josh Ruben is suitably chilling as psychotic nice-guy Bruce. They have a natural chemistry that carries the first half of the film and Ruben is able to really let rip in the second half as Bruce descends into madness.

‘A Wounded Fawn’ is a noble attempt but ultimately it’s an uneven film that feels like two different films competing to be heard. I can see what Stevens was aiming for and the film certainly has its moments, but overall there is too much stuffed into its 91 minute run time. The first half of the film is far stronger and when it moves into the surreal, it started to lose me and I doubt I’ll be the only one. As ever though Stevens remains an intriguing film-maker and his visual flair is always pleasing to the eye.

Cast: Sarah Lind, Josh Ruben, Malin Barr Director: Travis Stevens Writers: Nathan Faudree & Travis Stevens Certificate: 18 Duration: 91 mins Released by: Shudder

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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