Wildling  is a horror film directed and co-written by Fritz Bohm. The film follows a young woman named Anna, played by Bel Powley, who breaks free from her childhood imprisonment and soon begins to realize the truth about the world around her as well as within herself.
Modern-day creature featurewith a coming-of-self undertone. Anna has been held captive since birth by a man she only knows as “Daddy” (played by a very creepy Brad Dourif). The film jumps straight into her narrative, playing as though it were a grim bedtime story. We only know what Anna knows - that there is something dangerous outside of the walls of her bedroom; there is no context behind this creature or its origins, only that it must be feared. Eventually, Anna is freed and we experience life with her as she learns what it means to be a young woman, trying to manage both her supernaturalism and sexual adolescence. Although it may seem cliché to use a physical transformative experience as a metaphor for puberty and self-discovery, it surprisingly works well here for Bohm. The use of a female perspective and how the narrative plays out makes the film more about biology and our primitive nature rather than mythology; that’s what truly sets it apart from the typical werewolf films we’re used to.
The Diary of a Teenage Wildling. Bel Powley is a total gem in this film. There is an innocence to her beauty that really works well for this role as Anna. Anna has only known isolation and when she’s thrust into the real world she is essentially a like a child learning to walk for the first time, trying to shed what she was conditioned to know about the world. Powley’s large eyes and girlish charm carry an insatiable curiosity, humanizing Anna despite the ferocious primal instincts we know lies within her.
Unpredictable, yet anti-climactic. The first two acts of this film are a howlin' good time; there are some blood and gore, a little sex, some teenage meandering - a perfect balance of genres. Wildling hits the appropriate beats of a coming of age tale while remaining fairly unpredictable in terms of its plot points, but the third act does stumble as the film transitions from a metamorphosis piece to full-on carnage. I love a third act that goes balls to the wall (i.e. The Invitation, The Neon Demon, etc), but in the case of Wildling, it felt too contrived and more of a cop-out. Overall, it’s a pretty decent viewing experience despite the shaky final act.
A shaggy tale of girl meets world. Feels like a rough draft to a better film, but still a good debut. Definitely keeping my eye for Fritz Bohm’s future works.