A wounded fawn
The new feature from director Travis Stevens A wounded fawn begins in the high-end art world and ends in the depths of a serial killer’s mind, taking concepts from Greek mythology along the way. The result is a superb blend of supernatural and psychological horror from the man who helmed Jacob’s wife and Girl on the third floor. Meredith (Sara Lind) has managed to come out and get over an abusive relationship, and she’s ready to test the dating waters again. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, the man she plans to spend the weekend with in her secluded cabin is Bruce Ernst (Josh Rubin), who is revealed early in the film to be a murderer. Meredith becomes suspicious of Ernst when she sees an artwork depicting The Erinyes – also known as The Furies – in his home that has just passed through the auction house where she works. Seasoned scare fans may be guessing where the film is headed, but Stevens takes things in a bold and bloody direction, culminating in a third act that’s a real journey, with a jaw-dropping payoff. A wounded fawn boasts a shot-on-film 1970s vibe that only adds to the unique, giddy feel of the film, which is destined to make this reviewer’s Best of 2022 list.
A reflection on grief, loss, atonement and trying to make up for the mistakes of the past, the film by director Alex Thompson Round finds Doctor James Hayman (Namir Smallwood) transferred from a large city hospital to a quieter, more rural hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown at the first facility over the death of a patient. Now emotionally estranged and bereft of any bedside manner, Hayman is resentful that the chief medical officer, Dr. Emil Harrison (Michael Potts), sends him to an acting class to improve his relationships with patients. Something haunts Hayman, and his worsening ankle injury and his obsessive interest in a case involving a 19-year-old asthma patient (Sidney Flanigan as Helen Adso) and her mother (Rebecca Spence in the role of Karen) do not help matters. Supernatural and psychological horrors come into play, and Thompson does a great job of keeping viewers guessing exactly what happens to Hayman and what a reliable protagonist he really is. Although all of the cast members give memorable turns, Smallwood’s performance as a troubled, anguished man trying to move on with his life after tragedy is a standout performance that drives the film.
A wounded fawn and Round screen as part of the Tribeca Festival, which runs from June 8 to 19, 2022 in New York City, with At Home virtual content. For more information, visit https://tribecafilm.com/films/wounded-fawn-2022 and https://tribecafilm.com/films/rounding-2022.