Friday, 3 September 2010



My own fault really - when the director introduces a film with the words "I consider myself to be a surrealist", that's when you know you're in the wrong screening and probably in the wrong city. I've never bought into surrealism as it's a too-easy excuse for wanton gibberish - you can put any old wank up there and get away with it if you say it's surrealist. Symbolism, to an extent, but there should be the expectation that we'll actually be able to decipher it - otherwise it's just a string of squiggles to which we don't have the key, and I might as well be doing a sudoku. The allegories and similes shouldn't be so obscure and abstract that we, the mere audience, can't fathom what the hell you're banging on about, or even know if there is anything to fathom in the first place.

That's not to say the average audience is particularly dense - even in somewhere like Stevenage there'll be some who know what phallic symbols are - and we don't necessarily need everything explained in very simple words by a kindly voiceover. Most of us are not cretins. But to be honest they could have shown the reels of Wound in any order and it wouldn't have made much difference. At its heart is a basic psychological horror tale - it opens with a man visiting his daughter, who promptly hits him with a spade, ties him and and cuts his knob off. Turns out he'd abused her when she was a child, and now she can only function sexually as a submissive sex slave. At some point she'd apparently had a daughter of her own and given her up for adoption, and this now teenage girl is tracking her birth mother down.

Shame, guilt, abuse, castration, murder - these are tried and tested ingredients for genre movies. But the reason she's wrapping her bowel movements in tinfoil and keeping them in the freezer is.... what, exactly, beyond having something to put with the corpses buried in the back garden (in some kind of subconscious I Sh*t On Your Grave pun)? At various points she appears to be wearing a mannequin mask that makes her look like a shopwindow dummy, and there's a particularly odd sequence in which she and someone else (possibly her own daughter) are reborn through a large vagina. And yet it's dull. Even the onscreen castration isn't interesting or shocking or distressing; it's just there.

Worse: it's not just dull, it's annoying. I'm no genius, but I'm not an imbecile either, and I have no idea what director David Blyth thinks he's doing, what story he thinks he's telling. Look, incoherence isn't fun. It's babbling. Mention has been made of David Lynch, and in all honesty I don't like Lynch when he's in random gibberish mode like the three unwatchable hours of Inland Empire (if Wound does have a virtue, it's that it's reasonably short). I hated it.


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