You can count on one hand the number of breathtaking folklore horror films that come out every year; but while the numbers may be small, their impact continues to haunt you well after the credits have rolled. We've seen it in the past with films like The VVitch, Midsommar, and Hagazussa, and now you can finally rent the next one that will, if you allow it, mess with your head and suck you into its cyclical mindfuck of mental torture. ENTWINED - directed by Minos Nikolakakis - is a Greek fantasy horror film that takes place deep in the forest of a remote village in Greece, where Mother Nature works in mysterious and powerful ways humans cannot even begin to fathom. I'm beginning to stick to this theory I have that films that only have two or three actors in it are always more intense, because Entwined only really focuses on its two main characters for pretty much the majority of the film, something that viewers will either love or hate. Much like the previous films I mentioned, this movie is a slow burn flick which relies heavily on its gorgeous visuals, its very limited dialogue, and audiences open mind for it to have the impact that it demands. You're not going to find much action or excitement in Entwined, and once you understand that this film doesn't require it, you'll fall as in love with this movie as I have. Prepare yourself, because this one will send you down a dark and twisted path deep into the bowels of its gorgeous Greek forest where you are no longer the alpha in nature. Entwined is the folklore horror film of 2020, and you'd be a sucker to skip an opportunity to get sucked in.
For a film that feels very complex and deep, its premise is actually quite simple. After the death of their father, two brothers go their separate ways as one chooses to move forward with life and the other chooses to start anew. The one who chooses to start fresh is Panos (Prometheus Aleifer), the lost soul who Entwined is based around. Panos is a doctor who relocates to an isolated village where he takes on the role of the villages only (and first) doctor, where he will be able to look after the villages' mostly elderly (and small) population. Once he completes his move, he meets and becomes infatuated with this beautiful young women named Danae (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi) who lives deep in the forest outside of the village. When he stumbles upon her farm house out in the middle of nowhere, he discovers she has a bizarre skin condition where she appears to have almost tree-bark like patches growing on her arms and her back. Being the village doctor, he insists she follow him back to the main village where he can better assist her in healing but she refuses, insisting that the fire that burns inside of her home must be kept going at all times, and she's responsible for keeping it going. Panos returns to her home with ointment as he begins to fall for the beauty, but her old man father attacks him and Panos pushes back, causing head trauma. Once Panos brings the father back to the village, he returns to the farm house in the middle of nowhere where him and Danae make passionate and intense love. When Panos is ready to return to the village, the forest prevents him: as he navigates his way through the heavy brush, no matter how far and long he walks, he always seems to return back to the farm house. It is then that Danae insists he stay and the two become bound in marriage, and once they do, things in the forest take a most mind-bending turn. The events that follow in the film need to be watched to understand, but let me tell you, they will stick with you for a long time. Will Panos ever be able to escape the forest and return to normal life in the village, or will he be doomed to live out the rest of his days, keeping the fire burning in a house he cannot escape? Find out in... ENTWINED.
I'm really going to do my best to keep this as basic as possible, simply because I do absolutely do not want to spoil the deep and twisted path that Entwined takes you down once Panos accepts Danae as his bride. It would be a shame to spoil the incredible basis of Danae's existence and why she does what she does, but just allow me to say this: she is a mystical, charming and enchanting beauty, and even with all of her seemingly crazy outlooks, it's easy to see why Panos became so infatuated with her from the get-go. Anybody would. But the real question is would you stay with her once she opened up to you about her secrets of nature? As she talks of how the Earth works in ways your mind will never even begin to comprehend and its effect on your relationship? Would you be able to survive a life of isolation and cyclical patterns for this girl? If you answered yes, you probably haven't seen Entwined yet - because that is only the tip of the iceberg. Danae - as beautiful and as enchanting as she is - has secrets that will drive you to absolute madness.
Entwined is not a movie you'll find yourself watching over and over again, it's a film that you'll want to watch and let it sink it and sit with you for a while. It's a film that will leave you uncomfortable, unsettled and mindfucked. It does an amazing job at doing this with a lack of action, a lack of gore, a lack of heavy dialogue and with only two actors. It will invoke weird emotions of sadness and anger and a feeling of being lost and even dread - all feelings that a big Hollywood horror wouldn't even begin to be able to replicate. That's not even mentioning how incredibly well acted, how beautifully shot, and how intensely written the film is. Without giving away too much and spoiling the hidden gems and secrets of the film, let me just say that this film begs for your attention. It's plea for your eyes. If you even slightly enjoyed the films I previously mentioned, Entwined is your must-watch film of the year. It will rock you.