Hold the Dark
A naturalist goes to Alaska to search for a wolf pack that took a boy. But he discovers that wolves are not the most dangerous thing in the village of Keelut.
This is a laconic movie full of snow and guns and men in plaid. There are wolves and native witches and masks, and one of the most violent shootouts I’ve seen since the second season of “True Detective.” (Actually, I just rewatched the “True Detective” shootout, and the one in “Hold the Dark” is much more intense in its tightly-contained area and focus.) It’s gory and dark and senseless and brutal and I loved it. There’s a lot of subtext going on here, making us question things like love and vengeance and what makes us human. It’s just this side of “American Werewolf in Alaska” without sliding over the line to straight-up supernatural horror.
(Also, Letterboxd and IMDB don’t list its genre as “horror”; dude, this is totally a horror movie …)
A punk band touring dives in the Pacific Northwest get booked at a skinhead club. After their set (opened with a cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”), they witness a murder backstage. And then things get progressively bad …
I really enjoyed this movie. It had the kind of propulsive energy you’d expect from a film about a punk band, and also a lot of very unsettling violence as the besieged band members square off against the neo-Nazis, and also a lot of wonderfully dark humor. The characters are well-rounded and likeable (at least the non-Nazi ones are likeable), which makes the gruesome violence that much more affecting.