Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Wounded Fawn, on Shudder

You would think a serial killer like Bruce Ernst would have more affinity for Pluto than the Erinyes (a.k.a. The Furies), the Greek deities of vengeance. However, he cannot resist taking a statuette as a valuable souvenir from his most recent victim. The next kill will be much more difficult for him in Travis Stevens’ A Wounded Fawn, which premieres tomorrow on Shudder.

Apparently, Ernst is an art dealer who represents clients at auctions, which is a very un-serial killer thing to do. In addition to killing the winning bidder of the Erinyes, he has also murdered the owner of a rather stylish and conveniently remote cabin, where he has arranged to spend the weekend with Meredith Tanning, his new girlfriend and next anticipated victim. She is also connected to the art world. In fact, she helped authenticate the Erinyes, which really suggests he should be casting a wider net for his prey.

Of course, she is surprised to see it on his living room table, but she still settles down to a nice dinner with Ernst, even though she hears disembodied voices warning her to leave. Somehow, she doesn’t get alarmed until she sees weird shadowy figures moving outside the cabin.

Initially, the first fortysome minutes of
Fawn is a highly promising serial killer film with supernatural overtones. Unfortunately, the sinister cat-and-mouse game we’re anticipating never materializes. Instead, the film turns into a trippy but predictable fever dream fueled by the Greek mythology symbolism introduced in the auction-prologue.

Frankly, most horror fans have plumbed the depths of more than enough serial killers already, so taking a deep dive into Ernst’s subconscious is trip we don’t need to take. Sadly, when the Erinyes assume the forms of Ernst’s victims to torment him, it is not even cathartic payback, because they are perversely lectury. Granted, it is certainly punishing to listen to their gender studies buzz words, but we the audience have to sit through it too.

Probably the best work in the film comes from the auctioneer, played by Neal Mayer, who evocatively sets up the film by explaining the Erinyes’ significance. Sarah Lind could make a worthy adversary for Ernst, but Stevens and co-writer Nathan Faudree effectively take her out of the picture way too early. Instead, we can’t escape watching Josh Ruben as the world’s most annoying serial killer, which becomes genuinely excruciating.

is shot on 16mm to give it a retro throwback look, which would be cool if the narrative didn’t stop dead in its tracks. The inevitable is just so obvious, it becomes boring. Not recommended, A Wounded Fawn starts streaming tomorrow (12/1) on Shudder.