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WOUNDS Lacks An Identity or a Cohesive Narrative

When a patrons phone is left behind, a New Orleans bartender will soon be plagued by disturbing messages and events that make his life spiral out of control. Starring Armie HammerDakota Johnson, and Zazie Beetz, Wounds is a film with an interesting premise, but does nothing of value with it. It’s a boring, misdirected story with a convoluted narrative that can’t find its footing as a tech or psychological thriller.

Will (Hammer) works in a decrepit dive bar in New Orleans, where he keeps the drinks flowing for a small group of boisterous regulars. This also includes his friend Alicia (Beetz) and her boyfriend Jeffrey (Karl Glusman). One evening a group of clearly underaged kids come in, and Will decides to turn a blind eye to it. A fight breaks out and in the panic, one of the kids leaves behind their phone.

Hoping that someone calls the phone to get it back, Will takes it home where he eventually gets a message. It’s disturbing in nature, so he believes it to be a prank. But as the messages get increasingly more disturbing, combined with weird occurrences plaguing both he and his girlfriend Carrie (Johnson), Will finally sees that this is far from a joke.

I rarely regret wasting time on a film, as I always try to find some sort of redeeming quality, even if it’s not great overall. Wounds is not one of those films. This was a painful movie to suffer through, and its lackluster ending offered nothing to grip onto, in terms of feeling like you watched a cohesive piece.

My first issue from the start is that I found Hammer to be completely miscast in this. I just could not buy him as this rugged, dive-bar bartender – and the script certainly doesn’t do much to make this believable. Furthermore, his chemistry with Johnson is nonexistent, and their eventual relationship issues within the film are completely unnecessary and does nothing for story progression, aside serving as a distraction from the core mystery.

Another frustration is that the plot doesn’t go where it feels like it should go. Not to say that route would have been obvious, but everything feels so disjointed. Will is getting these terrifying texts, but then we’re constantly pulled from it for relationship drama. And there seems to be some interesting and frightening special effects within these messages, that I was hoping Will would experience first hand – but nope. We see it a couple of times and then it never manifests in front of Will. There are a few scares here and there, but are never fully followed through. It also makes no sense that Will would assume these messages to be a joke at first, considering it’s not established that these kids are town pranksters – so we’re not dealing with a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation.

When his girlfriend Carrie is roped into the disturbing supernatural events, she’s not even really affected by them whatsoever. Like I mentioned before, all the relationship drama just overshadows everything. No matter that she sat starring at a carbon copy The Ring video for hours. It’s just forgotten about minutes later and she seems completely unfazed, focused more on the decline of their relationship.

There are some brief cliché research moments that begin to dive into the meaning behind these strange videos and what’s haunting Will. But the end of the film leaves us with no resolution, no answers; not even a somewhat artsy metaphor – just nothing.

I truly wouldn’t recommend this film to a soul. It’s rather tedious to watch, which makes it so unbelievably frustrating. Billed as a “psychological horror”, the film offers more bores than anything cerebral. Hulu has so much to offer right now for its “Huluween”, so don’t waste your time on Wounds.


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