Half way through the film’s runtime I wrote down the comment, “There’s a horror film pretending to hide somewhere in here isn’t there?” After all was said and done I’m unsure whether we found it.
The film features a protagonist who resides in a small town in rural England. Her friends, from Toronto, decide to come and visit her as they come to play a ‘gig’ in her one street town. They notice, and make some glaringly obvious comments, that she’s losing a lot of weight and not eating. The concern that they show is made into a bigger and bigger deal as what could be ignored as just being regular human actions that we ignore in the edit continues to be harped on.
She begins to “see” things and a ghostly presence enters the story. However the question of what is real and what isn’t is never truly addressed. This is less of a criticism and more of an unnerving fact. Film loves to exist in ambiguity, we still argue about the ending of Shutter Island as if it’s still 2010. Here however we can’t help but see the ambiguity and not caring to truly ask what we feel about it. We argue over other films because their narrative engaged us to the point where we as an audience has invested in what happens next. With The Wasting however, the film doesn’t earn this status at any point in time.
Everything about this film comes off as just a poorly put together psychological thriller. It’s mood feels horror, but it portrays no real fear. The film’s characters are stiff and just does nothing to make the audience interested in what becomes of anyone in this story.