One of the relatively good horror movies on Netflix is “Wounds”, a so-called Netflix Original horror movie about a New Orleans bartender that is stuck with a cursed object. In the case of this movie, the cursed object is a cellphone. It’s an understated (to use a word that’s Netflix terminology) horror about demons.
Will, a bartender (Armie Hammer) overlooks the ages of a group of teens and sells them beer. The kids sit down and when they’re drinking their beers a fight between one of the regular customers, Eric (Brad William Henke), and one of his friends breaks out. Due to Will’s threats to the troublemakers about calling the police, the teens leave the bar in a hurry.
The teenagers leave behind a cursed cellphone and the rest of the story is about how the cellphone haunts Will, the friend that initiated the fight, and Will’s girlfriend Carrie (Dakota Johnson). Will insists on returning the cellphone to the kids, but he isn’t able to do it.
During the time Will unsuccessfully attempts to return the cellphone to its owner, whatever is possessing it gets more and more vicious and it finally overtakes Will, Eric, and Carrie.
Armie Hammer did a great job as Will, and he makes a believable bartender. I worked as a bartender’s assistant and can attest the ways he portraits someone in that profession are believable.
I liked the character of one of the friends of the bartender. When conflict breaks out between Eric and Will in the third act, I felt bad for Will because of the situation he ends up in. Eric lets him down when his help was Will’s only choice between dignity and misery.
I liked this movie very much, and there may be several reasons why. First off, I loved that it was set in the Big Easy because I’m writing a trilogy of horror screenplays set in New Orleans.
Also, I have a soft spot for bars. See, bars are considered temples of Lord Shiva, and Shiva is the Lord of Ghosts. I always love it when a horror movie includes substantial parts of its narrative in a bar because it’s a more than appropriate setting for horror.
I didn’t like that it’s rather short for its engrossing premise. In fact, this movie could have used at least 15-20 minutes more of screenplay. That’s because, while the story is wrapped up nicely by the ending scene, it could have been much more effective if the writer would have told the audience what exactly was wrong with the phone.
We are given a tiny bit of explanation. It lets us know it’s a movie about gnostic demons.
When Will makes some research he finds a webpage and it calls the gnostic demons “aeons”. I don’t know a lot about Gnosticism, but I guess if they substituted aeons for archons, it might have been mercy from the writer, not wanting to connect the audience with the potentially negative real word for gnostic demons.
But other than that, about what happened for the phone to be possessed, we are left to wonder what exactly were the teens playing with when the phone became haunted, and why the entity does what it does to those that have the phone.
Also, this movie steals and exploits a superstition from Hinduism and exposes it as gnosticism (kind of a twisted thing to do), the idea that every time your skin breaks and a little blood pours out, it attracts demons.
My own moral culled from this movie is this: if you write screenplays, be careful when you are imagining your stories because mental vultures can pick up your thoughts and steal them to plagiarize your ideas.
I say this because one of the three horror screenplays I’m still writing (about New Orleans) has a scene on the third act where the protagonists discard a haunted phone.
This was something I did, to have a backstory for the following screenplay in which one of the characters finds the phone the other characters discarded.
Pretty much the idea I had around four years ago, I saw it used by others, even with the same location.
Now I remembered it correctly, I shared that script in the Amazon Commissary forums, maybe whoever ripped me off picked up the idea from there and it wasn’t a mental vulture. Or maybe it’s just a freak coincidence.
Those who think that New Orleans and horror are a good combination should watch “Wounds” because of its location. In it, we get to see cool shots of the Big Easy’s streets.
Those that don’t forgive omission and art-house elements in American horror movies shouldn’t watch this movie because it omits a lot of detail and has a down, arthouse-like ending.