Here’s the thing. You didn’t know you wanted a semi-feral little girl coming-of-age story/ after-school special/fairytale-hybrid with Gríma Wormtongue and Arwen Evenstar in supporting roles as shady daddy and earnest sheriff, respectively. Ok, that’s the end of the sentence. Because I can’t assert that you actually, in fact, do, want this.
…but I think I did?
Young Anna has never seen the outside of her small room, though she yearns desperately for it through her barred windows. Locked away since birth (one assumes) the attic room where she is kept is her entire world, and “daddy” is her only friend. Daddy tells her of the Wildlings, monstrous beasts with razor-sharp teeth and claws who have gobbled all the children–she is the very last, and she must never go outside, lest the Wildlings find her, too.
The colorful gummy bears atop her birthday cakes multiply in number to mark the passage of years, and Daddy begins giving her daily injections on the enigmatic premise that she is, in some way, becoming unwell. That this practice begins at the onset of menstruation is deeply unsettling, and more unsettling still is when he shows up in her room one morning with a gun, instead of a needle…
Anna wakes up in a hospital room where town Sheriff Liv Tyler begins asking her questions, and Anna, who knows nothing other than the room in which she was raised, is unable to answer. Foster care is bound to get involved, but inexplicably, the Sheriff takes Anna home with her. This seems to happen a lot in movies and I would love to know from my professional friends in the mental health community–does this really happen? Can law officers and doctors or nurses or whatever, just take in these stray orphans and feral children, like in the movies? Is this based on anything real? I can’t imagine that it is.
I don’t want to say too much more, but despite the fact that this does somehow really have the feel of an afterschool special (though I am hard-pressed to tell you what the moral of the story is) I really enjoyed this fantasy-horror film tackling myth and monster and the savage biology of transformation and also just being a horny teenager who is going through some shit, I guess.
And, oh, gosh, Liv Tyler. I do love her, even if she is kind of …one note. But is that always a bad thing? At one point when the story starts ramping up a bit, and when the sweet, breathy Sheriff turns steely-eyed and stern and says, “I think you should let me handle that,” you almost expect her next words to be “…if you want him, come and claim him!”
I stumbled upon Wildling while I was scrolling through Tubi, I was looking for a sort of wild-card pick, something that I’d never heard of and which wasn’t on my lists or even on my radar. I’m glad I found it.
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