"Wendigo" takes one of the oldest and scariest North American horror legends, the tale of the half-man, half-beast Wendigo who terrorizes the North Woods, and turns it into a post-modern pop scare show that doesn't quite work.
Writer-director Larry Fessenden ("Habit") tries to give the old Algernon Blackwood tale and legend a smart update, showing us an urban family, the McClarens (Patricia Clarkson and Jake Weber), caught in a rural hell in their rural forest home, facing horrors both real and fantastic. Peopling the movie with a Sundance drama family, and villains (like John Speredakos) out of "Deliverance," and surrounding them all with eerie motifs that suggest "The Shining," a John Cassavetes drama and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," Fessenden cooks up a likably offbeat horror movie. But somehow, it never jells, never really scares us.
"Wendigo"MPAA rating: R (for graphic violence and strong language).
Michael Wilmington is the Chicago Tribune movie critic.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun