Wounds – USA, 2019 – reviews

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‘Don’t call it in’

Wounds is a 2019 American horror feature film written and directed by Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow), based on the novella The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud. The movie stars Dakota Johnson, Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz and Brad William Henke.


Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar…


Wounds premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 26 January 2019. It was also shown at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and the London Film Festival.

A planned theatrical release on 29 March 2019 was cancelled and Wounds has since been released on Hulu in North America and Netflix in the UK.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“This comes off as being a horror movie that doesn’t fully work because the director really wanted to make a relationship drama and a relationship drama that doesn’t fully work because the story keeps getting sidetracked into flashes of horror. Either way, it just doesn’t work very well.” Arrow in the Head

Wounds teases the viewer early on with some cheap jump scares but those are just primers for the deeply weird, shiver-inducing, otherworldly terror of the fates that slowly befall Will and Carrie. So, consider yourself warned. But also consider Wounds highly recommended.” Battleship Pretension

“As it progresses, a kind of nightmare logic takes the film over, which is to say logic starts falling out and you can lose yourself trying to make sense of it all. The better tact is to sit back and let the weirdness wash over you. Director Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow) has loaded this film with gross, nightmarish visuals that keep it from ever being boring.” Birth. Movies. Death.

“When it comes to the horror, Anvari doesn’t play with the genre as much as he could have. Instead, he goes for cheap jump scares, loud noises, and cockroaches in approximately 98% of the scenes. It’s a pity, especially since the little we discover about the mythology of the film is more interested than the actual plot.” Bloody Disgusting

“Anvari’s film is littered with fascinating images and ideas — disfigured eyeballs, dark subterranean tunnels, Necronomicon-like books cribbed from Lovecraft and his disciples — but rather than develop any of these chilling ideas, he simply keeps adding in something new. The result is that we’re left with a parade of promising, yet half-baked, horror images.” Goomba Stomp

“This is very much Hammer’s film, and he gamely loses himself in the sweaty panic of the role, subverting his golden matinee-idol persona to explore the gnawing sense of inadequacy eating away at Will and steadily filling him with overwhelming rage. He also gets some memorably visceral body-horror moments…” The Hollywood Reporter

Wounds is a profane exploration of secrecy, identity, relationships, and the taboo. A weird mix, sure, but it is all about the things so awful they are too difficult to speak of. Anvari takes these notions and infuses creepy crawly cockroaches, dismemberment, disfigurement, trust, and an unreliable narrator that we are not sure is all there. Then there is the sound design. Damn.” Horror Buzz

“I’ve always appreciated a film which gets the “dread” just right. Again, the film takes its time, but with each passing moment, your unease will continue to grow and expand, until the film’s final moments open your eyes wide to the culmination of that dread. The final few shots of Wounds are simply nightmare-inducing…” Horrorfreak News

Wounds is the sort of film you keep watching if only to see if it can keep the nuttiness going, which it does. Nobody can make a steady diet of that flavor of cinema, but if you enjoyed debating Suspiria (and to a lesser extent, Hereditary) than Wounds should be on your dance card. You know who you are.” J.B. Spins

“As far as the horror aspect goes, Wounds has some nicely grotesque imagery, with cockroaches being the big creepy selling point, although the gore is nothing you haven’t seen before. The whole premise of Will finding the cellphone and the otherworldly aspect feels derivative. It’s just a watered-down version of something you’ve seen done a lot better before…” Joblo

“The narrative jumps from one fright to another without any clear logic, and ends abruptly just as we think we might finally get some answers. The visuals seem heavy with meaning, but the message, if there even is one, seems impossible to decipher. What this movie is about, what it’s trying to do, I couldn’t really tell you.” Mashable

“Anvari, who also wrote the script, creates a nightmare scenario in which reality is twisted into knots and nothing seems to make sense. I’m perfectly fine with that as long as there’s something substantial to base it on, but I need more than just flashing images of bugs, murder, and darkened tunnels.” Punch Drunk Critics

Wounds is interested in exploring our dark sides, tapping into that uneasy feeling that takes hold when we’re alone at night, and creeping us out with an abundance of cockroaches. It’s successful enough at all of these to recommend, although I am curious how the horror community is going to react to this. Wounds’ unnerving elements outweighed many of its shortcomings…” Slash Film

Cast and characters:

  • Dakota Johnson … Carrie – Suspiria (2018)
  • Armie Hammer … Will
  • Zazie Beetz … Alicia
  • Brad William Henke … Eric
  • Karl Glusman … Jeffrey
  • Kerry Cahill … Rosie
  • Ritchie Montgomery
  • Lawrence Turner … Willard
  • Jim Klock … Patrick
  • Martin Bats Bradford … Doug
  • Xena Zeit-Geist … Tattooed Woman
  • Alexander Biglane … Garrett
  • Christin Rankins … Mary
  • Ben Sanders … Jason
  • Terence Rosemore … Duane Cross
  • Luke Hawx … Marvin
  • Creek Wilson … Scotty
  • Kevin Beard … Man in Bar
  • Kermit Burns III … Young Man
  • Matthew Underwood … Eric’s Friend
  • Cami Roebuck … College Girl #2

Production companies:

  • Annapurna Pictures
  • Two & Two Pictures
  • AZA Films

Technical credits:

94 minutes


Working titles were The Translation of Wounds and Transgression



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