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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Review: The Widow

Director: Ivan Minin

Screenplay: Natalya Dubovaya, Ivan Kapitonov, and Ivan Minin

Year: 2021

When I knew about the existence of “The Widow”, the first thing that caught my attention was its impressive promotional poster. I thought that if it was at least as scary as what the poster suggests, it would be worth the watch. However, I was awfully wrong about that. 

In a dense forest in St. Petersburg, there have been reports of missing people for decades, and the few bodies that have been recovered were found naked. A rescue team goes to the place looking for a young boy that was reported missing nearby. A series of unfortunate events lead the rescue time to question if the witch’s story that is said to inhabit the place is a myth or if it's real. 

“The Widow” (“Vdova”) begins by establishing the myth of a witch that lives in the forest and who kills anyone that comes near it as retaliation for the evil she had to endure in her life. A rescue team goes to the forest where the witch allegedly inhabits searching for a missing boy, but instead, they find a naked woman clearly in distress. The rescue team helps her and the weakened woman starts talking about the witch’s myth and warns them that they will not make it out alive. Up until here, everything was fine.

After rescuing the woman, the movie faces a repetitive stretch, where the rescue team starts to experience different mechanic and course issues that prevent them from leaving the forest. This part is when the debuting director Ivan Minin starts to introduce horror elements and we start to suspect the worse. Not only is the horror unoriginal, but also completely ineffective.

Through the well-achieved cinematography, a great job is achieved in creating an oppressive atmosphere with plenty of suspense, but that’s when this field’s effectiveness ends. Once it goes to the horror, nothing works as intended. After a promising start, the plot turns unbearably dull, with a way to slow rhythm with no reward. Trying to get a “The Blair Witch Project” atmosphere was clearly not its best choice. 

“The Widow” combines folk horror with a witch’s myth to offer a boring and disappointing movie. The first minutes promise an exciting and terrifying film, but it soon falls into a downwards spiral of repetitive scenes and failed attempts at being scary that unleashes a boring plot where not much happens, and whatever little happens is not worth the long and insufferable plot. The cinematography, how the plot is established during the first 20 minutes, and the deceiving poster are the only interesting things about this movie.

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