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Scariest Movies Featuring The Wendigo, Ranked | ScreenRant

Even though the Wendigo has appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, the creature started out as a mythical spirit from Algonquian folklore. Wendigos were originally seen as humanoid spirits that possess humans and induce feelings of greed and cannibalism within them. Over the years, their pop culture representations have added some new alterations.

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Usually, the Wendigo is depicted with ram horns, glowing eyes pushed back into the sockets, emaciated skin, and yellowed fangs. Films like The Wendigo and Pet Semetary make use of such popular depictions which are in turn influenced more by Algernon Blackwood's 1910 short story The Wendigo instead of the original myths.

7 The Last Winter (2006)

Barring the third act, the Wendigo never appears in The Last Winter. But it is the fear of its existence that contributes to an eerie atmosphere throughout its duration. The plot involves a team of environmentalists protesting the construction of a pipeline in the Arctic. With fatal accidents and gas leaks, the team begins to hallucinate and die one by one. The desolate setting only makes it worse for the characters.

Towards the end, the Wendigos make an appearance as nature spirits leaving a lot of space for interpretation. Essentially, the film is a tale of humans changing the flow of nature. So, in this sense, the Wendigos can be nature's guardians instead of the monstrosities they are usually seen as. As director Larry Fessenden said in an interview with RogerEbert.com, "When the world falls out of balance as it has, there is hell to pay. The wendigo is a way to discuss that. It’s manifested in different ways."

6 Frostbiter: The Wrath Of The Wendigo (1996)

A horror comedy from the 1990s, Frostbiter starts off with two friends embarking on a hunting trip. As they break a sacred circle in the process, they are chased by a Wendigo on a murderous rampage. The hilariously dated 90s effects might not make the film scary enough for modern audiences. But what stands out is the character design of the Wendigo itself.

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Instead of an upright humanoid, this particular Wendigo appears as a kind of a skeletal centaur. The deer's lower torso provides better speed and agility. As for the other classic features like outwardly-protruding horns and the nocturnal eyes, they are also retained.

5 Pet Sematary (2019)

An adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name, Pet Sematary features a mystical burial ground that is capable of bringing back the dead. However, this ground awakens dark forces such as the Wendigo.

The Wendigo in Pet Sematary is true to the novel's depiction and describes the Wendigo as a primal demon that cursed the Mimac burial ground. Even though the Wendigo doesn't appear much, the characters research it and discover its scary physical appearance. True to Stephen King's depiction in the book, there are the usual horns and fangs along with a white worm underneath its tongue. As Wendigos can turn humans into cannibals, even this version can reanimate the buried bodies into cannibalistic creatures.

4 Ravenous (1999)

The Wendigo never directly appears in Ravenous, but its chilling presence is what forms the crux of the narrative. Appearing in paintings and local stories, the film incorporates the legends of the Wendigo in the context of the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. A rogue Colonel gets inspired by the myths and starts consuming the flesh of his enemies with hopes of getting stronger.

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The darkly comic tone of the film keeps the existence of the Wendigo open-ended. Whether the creature exists or not, the Colonel is convinced of its presence and that leads him down the path of some disturbingly violent actions. It's this madness that adds to some genuine scares.

3 The Retreat (2020)

As a group of campers ventures out in a forest for a winter backpacking trip in The Retreat, one of them gets lost in the wilderness only to encounter a dreaded Wendigo. The plot might make use of some classic horror movie tropes but it is the depiction of the Wendigo that's slightly different.

Instead of the colossal, horned figure, the Wendigo in this case is more agile and bears an orc-like resemblance. With glowing eyes and pale-white skin, the creature also looks similar to other horror movie beasts such as the cave-dwelling Crawlers in The Descent. The carnivorous Wendigo in The Retreat can lunge and pounce on its victims in a faster and flexible manner.

2 Wendigo (2001)

After a city-dweller accidentally hits a deer in the woods, he believes that he's haunted by the Wendigo as revenge in Wendigo. The protagonist also gets a Wendigo figurine at a local souvenir shop that adds further to his scares.

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The visions of the Wendigo as well as the recurring motif of the figurine add a sense of mystery to the creature. The blurry hallucinations are stress-inducing and feature the character in night-vision-like lighting. This goes beyond the formulaic depictions making the titular monster more ominous. For most of the movie's duration, viewers keep on guessing whether the cannibalistic spirit is real or not.

1 Dark Was The Night (2014)

Set in a small town, Dark Was the Night features a Wendigo that preys on livestock (and eventually humans) in a recently-decimated forest. Instead of explicitly mentioning the creature's name, it is treated as an ominous figure throughout the film. With enough atmospheric horror, the narrative documents a local sheriff's attempts at finding the beast.

This has to be one of the scariest Wendigo films for plenty of reasons. First of all, the creature itself is bulkier than other Wendigo depictions. The reptilian features come out in greater detail with the CGI. And if all this wasn't enough, there are jump scares like the Wendigo lunging straight at the camera. Even when the sheriff thinks he has killed one Wendigo, several others appear in massive clusters.

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