I spoke to the director about the grander canvas he has with this latest film, how it was collaborating with Netflix, and what he learned from his failed “True Detective” experience. Interview here.
Here's what I wrote at TIFF:
"If you haven’t seen any films by filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier, then you’re missing out. He’s one of the very best up-and-coming directors around. His 2014 film “Blue Ruin” is a crime-thriller masterpiece and 2016’s “Green Room” was such a dark and nasty neo-Nazi revenge thriller that it felt like an avant-garde horror movie."
"Saulnier’s latest venture into the dark abyss, “Hold the Dark,” has him teaming up with Netflix. The film follows a wolf expert that travels to a small Alaskan village to investigate the disappearances of three children, who may or may not have been killed by wolves. The retired naturalist and wolf expert, Russell Cole, is played Jeffrey Wright as he journeys to the very edge of civilization to find answers. Medora Slone (Riley Keough), a young mother whose son was one of three children killed by a pack of wolves, has called for his help. However, the story has much more than meets the eye and “Hold the Dark,” a nastily-rendered genre hybrid from Saulnier, has surprises that shock at every turn."
“Saulnier continues his knack for visceral violence, you feel every gunshot wound, every stabbing of the knife, every punch, with the director inserting a kind of magical-surrealism that compliments the world being created, from a story adapted by longtime collaborator Macon Blair from a novel by William Giraldi."