The director of ‘Green Room’ and ‘Blue Ruin’ returns to his savage ways.
Some films sneak up on you. Others you spend months to years anticipating. Blue Ruin is a movie that came out of nowhere and smashed me in the gut. I had seen and enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier‘s Murder Party, but that film did not prepare me for the emotional shotgun blast to the soul that is Blue Ruin. I stumbled out of that theater screening in a haze of tears and stomach ache. The experience was wrenching but also exhilarating. I’m a masochist, give me more.
Saulnier’s follow-up, Green Room, did not punish my being as much as Blue Ruin, but that’s only because it’s so much damn, ugly fun. Especially as we sink further and further into the hell that is the American political landscape. Nazi punks fuck off. Indeed.
After that one-two punch, Saulnier had a fan for life. I know I’m not the only one. Blue Ruin snuck up on us, and we’ll spend the rest of our lives anticipating the next Saulnier picture.
Oh, look, the wait is near over. Check out the first trailer for his upcoming Netflix feature Hold the Dark:
What’s going on here? I see a bunch of people I like. Jeffrey Wright, Riley Keough, Alexander Skarsgård. There have to be a dozen One Perfect Shots provided by cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jønck in these first two minutes alone, but the plot is elusive and the motivations murky. That’s okay. Saulnier’s films are impossible to contain within such a brief window of time. They’re not made for trailers.
If you want a little help working out the plot, you need to head over to the drama’s IMDB page. A batch of kids are chewed up by wolves in the Alaskan wilderness. Instead of calling on Liam Neeson, the writer and former wolf expert Russell Core (Wright) is recruited by some bereft parents (Keough and Skarsgård) to track down their missing child. As the trailer suggests, there is more to the plot than simple animal savagery.
We catch glimpses of corpses both within and outside of nature. We hear whispers of how bodies are scattered throughout the landscape. Mother Nature is as much of a monster as humanity, but flashes of locked doors and wolf masks suggest a darker evil is at play. Fear for the creature that faces the wrath of Wright and Skarsgård.
If Saulnier excels at one thing, it’s dragging his characters to the grotesque depths of human evil. I do not imagine that Hold The Dark will channel the same classic genre thrills that Green Room achieves. The horror here appears to be relatable dread. Men committing depraved acts against one another. You know, the usual.
Hold the Dark premieres on Netflix on September 28th. While standing out in the crowd of the streaming platform can prove challenging, Saulnier’s latest has the opportunity to meet more eyes than any of his previous entries. Wright, Keough, and Skarsgård have already stolen our attention in a wide array of projects, and as long as this film achieves its narrative goals, Saulnier is on the cusp of gaining a much larger audience.