Every so often Netflix surprises its subscribers with a film you’ve never heard of before, but manages to shine up your horror queue with a mildly abrasive polish made of blood (See Train to Busan).
European import “The Windmill,” is one such example and you can stream that now if you so desire.
The story begins much like a Hollywood disaster film: we meet characters who don’t know each other, each with their own set of problems, but their lives eventually intersect in a fight for survival.
In “The Windmill” the strangers are thrown together on an Amsterdam tour bus which makes its way through the countryside, visiting some of the region’s most iconic windmills.
Suffering a mechanical difficulty, the bus stalls and the group is stranded in a desolate part of the landscape, just within walking distance of a windmill that looms high above the hillside canopy. And when the vehicle topples over into the lake their fate seems questionable.
The main character, Aussie tourist Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont) is the most mysterious of the bunch. She see visions, takes medication to calm them and the group begins to question her sanity after an unexpected outburst.
However, after taking refuge in an old cabin, the tourists begin to have hallucinations of their own. In particular re-visiting times in their lives where they have grievously sinned.
These revelations provide the grotesquely disfigured local spook Miller Hendrik the opportunity to steal their souls by revisiting their darkest, most painful secrets through terrifying visions.
As the tale goes, Hendrik, through a deal with the Devil, uses a large scythe to drain his victims of blood in order to get his windmill spinning again.
There is a twist at the end, but as the body count rises it may be too late to escape Holland’s legendary vigilantly of sin.
Director Nick Jongerius knows how to tell a story, and along with the strength of the actors and the brevity of the film (85 mins), “The Windmill” churns out a satisfying story with plenty of blood and guts to appease genre fans in this tidy well-baked treat.
Jongerius also manages to introduce a startling new movie monster into the mix. Hendrik is an ugly chap with burn-scarred face, complete with drooping eyes and candle wax ghoulishness. And he always gets his sinner.
Like the product of its namesake, “The Windmill” isn’t going to produce anything you haven’t tasted, but it successfully rises above some of the other offerings baking in your Netflix horror section.