Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
It’s been a long time since we did a horror movie, so I reached into my private stash to bring you a title I’ve been saving for a rainy day: Wake Wood (Netflix, $1.99 on Amazon). I’ve been meaning to include it in one of my annual 31 Flavors of Terror but for whatever reason I never got around to it. It’s a shame because it’s a pretty fine movie, combining elements of The Wicker Man (the real one, not that Nic Cage abomination), The Omen, and possibly even The Stepford Wives. Sadly you don’t get Chris Lee dancing in drag, but you still get a decent quotient of top notch British character actors, each of whom happens to be best known for fantasy roles with vaguely penile names. Behold, when Littlefinger met Wormtail:
Wake Wood is a movie that will be profoundly more disturbing for viewers who are parents because it centers on the death of a child. But that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer those without
little hellmonsters that cry constantly for no reason kids of their own. The grieving and bargaining the two parents go through is gripping no matter who you are, and the uniquely arboreal mysticism is really pretty neat.
Added bonus: the climactic scenes fit squarely within the definition of horror, but viewed objectively (especially by audiences accustomed to the graphic, microscopic detail of modern American cinematic gore) they’re a little goofy. But before we get anywhere near the end, Wake Wood quietly delivers one of the most horrifying screen deaths I’ve ever seen, as an impatient farmer hops into an unyielding steel enclosure with an agitated, 2,000 pound bull intent on moving slowly – VERY slowly – in reverse.