Going into the screening of The Windmill Massacre at this year’s FrightFest it crossed my mind that I was extremely doubtful that a windmill could be made into the scary setting for a horror movie. Haunted houses, mental asylums, graveyards, prisons and all manner of ancient tombs to me screamed evil but a windmill, well a windmill is more historically interesting than intensely horrifying
However by the end of the extremely entertaining retro style slasher directed and penned by Nick Jongerius alongside Chris W. Mitchell and Suzy Quid I was convinced that those sails ridden stone structures are far spookier than I ever imagined, especially the ones in Holland.
So how did Jongerius turn a turbine turret into a terrifying site for a slasher? Starting out in Amsterdam The Windmill Massacre introduces us to several seemingly random characters including work obsessed father (Patrick Balad) and his dejected son (Adam Thomas Wright) art enthusiast and doctor Nicholas (Noah Taylor), solider on leave Jackson (Ben Batt) and Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont) an Australian nanny on the run from her troubled past.
The eclectic bunch all end up together onboard a tour bus taking them out into the Dutch countryside to take in some culture and history and see the real Holland after the excessive sex and drugs and tourist tat that fill the city.
Breaking down in the middle of nowhere with no help nearby the group end up taking refuge for the night in a dilapidated barn next to a huge and eerie windmill. It is here they hear the long forgotten folk tale of a miller who was said to have ground down bones to make bread in a pact with the Devil. But when members of the group start to go missing it seems the lurid legend is in fact a frightening reality.
Building well from the beginning with its international set of quirky characters whose lives seem completely unconnected the cast are excellent especially Broadchurch’s Charlotte Beaumont who stands at the center of the story for the opening half being that she is the first to see the monstrous and murderous figure of The Miller (Kenan Raven) and due to her difficult background and pill taking problems is doubted and blamed for the strange goings on by some of the group.
Descending into more traditional territory after 30 minutes or so The Windmill Massacre is ultimately a pretty standard slasher with a few refreshing added elements that save it from feeling too stale and clichéd. There is some good gore and creative kills and The Miller meets all the horror requirements of a cracking killer including trademark weapons, distinctive costume with bonus points for his killer clogs, a hideous disfigured visage as well as a good back story steeped in fairy tale lore.
Fun and full of jumps and frights The Windmill Massacre will keep 80’s obsessed horror heads and new audiences alike happy giving both solid scares and laughs all wrapped in a surprisingly good storyline.
“This isn’t Hell its Holland!” yells one character in a moment of stress making for one of the best lines in the film. The Windmill Massacre most definitely brings horror to Holland and it’s a hell of a lot of fun too.