Review: THE WINDMILL, A Bloody But Tepid Slasher Flick
Noah Taylor stars in THE WINDMILL, directed by Nick Jongerius.
Jennifer is an Australian nanny in Amsterdam, Netherlands. When her secret past surfaces she flees into the night.
The next morning she finds her way onto a tour bus that offers trips outside of the city, visiting the country’s famous windmills. When the tour bus stalls Jennifer and one of the other tourists offer to go to a windmill over yonder to ask for help. The thing is, this windmill does not appear on any local map.
On their way they come upon The Miller and he makes quick and gruesome work of Jennifer’s companion. Stranded in the middle of the Dutch countryside, with a crazed killer outside, the rest of the group retreat into an abandoned church. They will discover there is no such thing as a coincidence. They were all brought together on that tour bus for a reason, to experience this Dutch version of slasher hell. One of the first things that the tour bus driver says when Jennifer arrives is, “There’s always room for one more sinner”.
The kills and violence in Nick Jongerius’ debut feature film are top shelf; most of the kills relate closely to each tourist's sins. To stand out among your slasher peers and make an impression you have to be creative and bloody and The Windmill achieves that. From the very first kill you know that The Miller is not someone to be fucked with. Some of the kills are meek by comparison but he gets the job done. The Miller is an imposing and physical force; the violence and deaths run the spectrum of Adam Green’s Hatchet to Wes Craven’s Elm Street.
Story-wise, The Windmill does not really set itself apart from the crowd. As the story goes The Miller was grinding his victims bones at his mill and mixing it's with the flour. When the locals found out they set him and his mill on fire. The Devil was so impressed with his work he offered to revive him so he could gather more souls of sinners. So there are the common themes from psycho slasher killers and your soul belonging to the Devil to the gathering together of sinners who will pay for their sins through death. If you believe that all sinners go to Hell this is simply a more vicious and quicker means to the end.
Our misgivings with The Windmill is that it is not a terribly exciting movie, nor does it have a quick pace or any sense of dread to it. The Miller needs only wait outside the old church that the tourists have holed up in and pick them off one by one as they come outside. No one catches on to their predicament either, as early on the rest of the tourists are conveniently convinced by physician on sabbatical Nicholas (Noah Taylor) that Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont) is having a psychotic break because he saw her empty med bottle. So there are not any of the standard issue chase scenes. Everyone pretty much walks into setups all throughout the night.
Golden Age slasher films at least had some kind of action apart from the kills. The Windmill is lacking anything that those pics had, excitement, dread and anticipation.