In the forests north of St. Petersburg, Russia finds itself in a place of evil. For the past three decades, people have disappeared in these forests, then found dead and naked. Who is responsible for these disappearances? Why are the victims left naked? When it comes to this land, the locals believe that these atrocities are the responsibility of an evil spirit known as the Lame Widow.
The widow, directed by Svyatoslav Podgaevsky, written by Natalya Dubovaya and Ivan Kapitonov, is a look at the horror of these forests. In its first minutes, The widow offers an attractive configuration; Between in-person interviews and outdoor footage, several people talk about this forest and the disappearances for which it is known. Cinematography provides a realistic and grounded look, nothing flashy or fancy. In this way, the conversations and images present a morbid curiosity for the public to cling to.
However, with an intriguing setup and all, the movie starts off on a slow note. The audience is introduced to the main cast of characters, a search and rescue team, who are also accompanied by a news reporter. Their introduction revolves around understanding their tactics and experience when it comes to missions, but these characters hardly have any personality. While that may confuse some viewers, it’s worth noting that The widow He’s not going out of his way to explore much with said characters, but rather, to make them exist for the sake of the plot. In that sense, they work quite well.
Once the viewer gets through all the smooth character introductions, The widow collect.
Upon receiving a call about a missing child, the team exits a training exercise and heads outside. While looking for him, they come across a woman in disrepair and naked. Time passes as the team tends to her, night falls on them. After walking for a while, they finally return to their vehicle, but soon discover that leaving the forest will not be easy. The woman awakens and shares the story behind the Lame Widow and why she stalks the forest. When problems arise that cause the team to be lost, the widow begins to advance them, using her powers to manipulate their minds and eliminating them one by one.
One of the strongest aspects for The widow it is his imagery of the forest. Like the opening segment of the film, there is a lack of cinematic glitz, which in turn creates a more ingrained and haunting vibe. There is a nervous air to see the team walking through the forest. A true sense of isolation hangs over them, the darkness threatening. Anxiety and fear consume them, panic drives them into more dangerous territory. The solid sound design further elevates this discomfort, with each random noise superimposing the distress on everyone.
In addition to being disturbing, the Widow proves to be a sinister force. His tactics to infiltrate the minds of each member and warp their sense of reality create great moments of suspense. There are some shocks and spooky visuals – a scene that takes place in an area called the hole is a great highlight. But predominantly, The widow it’s a more atmospheric experience when it comes to horror. Certain parts of the film involve a first-person perspective, these close-up segments create extra intense tension.
With such a strong and chilling presence for the most part, it’s a shame the movie chooses to end things. Literally, in its final minutes, a narrative decision arrives that feels barely developed. Given the randomness of this moment, coupled with how sudden other affairs occur, the ending drops the ball when it comes to sinister potential.
The widow It is not so much a slow burn, but its rhythm sets a dynamic in which the audience has to sit with the isolation and fear that engulfs the cast. The titular Widow’s abilities and the potent atmosphere’s abilities establish a prominent aura of unease at all times. Even with some rough narrative patches, The widow is a spooky story that will make one think twice before venturing into any forest in the dead of night.
The Widow debuts on major digital and VOD platforms and on DVD and Blu-ray in March 30, 2021 by Shout! Studios and Scream Factory.