Review: ‘A Wounded Fawn’ (2022)

Travis Stevens made some really good movies as a producer over the past decade or so. Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die. Steven C. Miller’s The Aggression Scale. Mike Mendez’s Big Ass Spider!. E.L. Katz’s Cheap Thrills. Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer’s Starry Eyes. Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here. Even Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune! That’s a nice body of work.

When he decided to move behind the camera in 2019 with Girl on the Third Floor, I was skeptical. After all, not everyone is successful with such a pivot. Sure, he could staff out the production with talent due to his connections, but would it amount to a film that would be on the same level as the films he produced for others?

Luckily, the answer was yes. Girl on the Third Floor was a hell of a debut, offering up something that felt akin to a Clive Barker take on a twisted haunted house yarn. Stevens retired last year with the also-great feminist vampire gem Jakob’s Wife and now he’s back with his latest, A Wounded Fawn.

How does it stack up to the rest? Beautifully.

This time ’round, Stevens (with co-writer Nathan Faudree) spins a serial killer tale that is caked with Greek mythological trappings and positively beaming with surrealist imagery. The basic plot centers around a woman (Sarah Lind) going on a weekend getaway with her new paramour (Josh Ruben), only to discover that he is more than just a walking pile of red flags. He’s a blinking neon sign flashing “DANGER!”.

If you’re worried about this turning into another cat-and-mouse tale between a killer and his prey, you can rest easy. Stevens dispenses with those ropes fairly quickly, instead offering up something far more wild and audacious. To dive into it further would be to spoil its surprises, but suffice to say that you’ve never seen this kind of subgenre told this particular way before.

If you’ve enjoyed his previous two films, this one comes highly recommended. Not only is the writing great and the performances top-notch, but the cinematography is to die for. This is a seriously beautiful piece of dark genre filmmaking, one of the best I’ve seen on that front in a long while. In a year that has already offered us up an embarrassment of horror movie riches, A Wounded Fawn is yet another quality addition.

A Wounded Fawn is an original horror film. It was directed by Travis Stevens, from a screenplay by Nathan Faudree and Travis Stevens. The film was produced by Joe Barbagallo, Laurence Gendron, Travis Stevens, Lee Forsyth, Emily Gotto, Jonathan Hsu, Michael Ricci, Melissa Rossaki, and Paris Stroungaris. It stars Sarah Lind, Josh Ruben, Malin Barr, Katie Kuang, Marshall Taylor Thurman, Laksmi Hedemark, Tanya Everett, Neal Mayer, Nikki James, and Leandro Taub.

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