Wulver’s Stane (CFF) Is Arthouse Horror for Fans of the Indecipherable
Title: Wulver’s Stane
First Non-Festival Release: TBD
Director: Joseph Cornelison
Writer: Joseph Cornelison
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Starring: Adrian Collins, Yvonne Keyrouz, Hannah T. Bailey
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Chattanooga Film Festival in 2022.
Clare (Adrian Collins) lives in the city and has to make ends meet by doing various seedy acts in an effort to survive. Part of this involves selling a hypnotic elixir to clientele across the city. She hopes to repress the feelings and memories of her tortured past that threatens to erupt from her at any moment. These two odds clash with each other and end in a swirl of violence in the end.
Indescribable and difficult to follow, Wulver’s Stane is arthouse horror fantasy that alienates more than it excites.
Before continuing to the bulk of the review, it feels necessary to begin on a light note. Specifically, the singular bright spots in Wulver’s Stane: its attention to detail in its artistic production. Beautifully imagined and passionately created, every frame looks to be meticulously stitched together to create this modern urban fantasy horror.
The score swells to forte in its most mystical and intense moments while capturing the quiet humdrum existence of the bustling city. It’s easy to reimagine “normal” life as something fantastic when every snarl and slash sounds like it was described from a picture book. It all creates this disorienting and overwhelming tone that follows the film from beginning to end.
As the advice continues, it is best to walk into Wulver’s Stane seeking out an experience more than a story. The film operates on the sensory feelings it hopes to evoke in the viewer rather than focusing on narrative. Truthfully, the story is difficult to follow due to its simplicity and the scant traditional dialogue in the film. It works on dream logic throughout the film, which leads to the more visceral reactions.
Truthfully, its lack of foundation made it difficult for this reviewer to follow, which means that this review may not be the most helpful for those seeking out this type of experience. It is a deliberately slow-paced film filled to the brim with creative filmmaking techniques and a strong sense of vision. The filmmakers should be applauded for their commitment to one cohesive project, but it remains inaccessible for the majority of the viewing public. It likely isn’t meant for most people though, so take that with a grain of salt.
Wulver’s Stane is more of a hallucinogenic experience than a traditional film. It is likely not going to work for many people and only those most open to arthouse horror are likely to find it decipherable. It’s clear that the vision behind the film is strong and cohesive, but all the choices create the effect of a migraine more than something revelatory, purposeful, or entertaining. It’s very likely that I missed something in my viewing experience, that I didn’t give it the chance it deserved, or that it simply isn’t for me. Regardless, if this sounds like your jam, seek it out. If not, it’ll likely be pretty easy to avoid.
Overall Score? 3.5/10