Wildcat is a psychological thriller that showcases the horror of humanity. I’ve talked before about how the most frightening villains are often human, rather than supernatural, and that rings true in this film.
The story of journalist Khadija Young (Georgina Campbell), Wildcat places the viewer in the middle of a crisis. Young has been taken captive after an ambush on her convoy in the middle east. She awakens in a cell with a fellow prisoner and must fight for survival amid torturous interrogation tactics and reignited trauma from her own personal past.
There are several key aspects of this film that contribute to my positive rating. The first of these is the acting, especially by lead Georgina Campbell. Her portrayal of Khadija is well-executed, as she goes through a range of both physical and mental trials throughout the film. The performance is believable and memorable as she navigates a terrifying situation with strength and courage despite her vulnerable position. The supporting cast is also well-suited for their roles and as an ensemble, all of the performances contribute to the effectiveness of the film.
Another important item to note is that Wildcat takes place within just two rooms. The majority of the scenes are within the captors’ cell. A single setting can sometimes lead a film to fall flat if the other aspects are not on point, but in this case, it works. This is a credit to the filmmaking crew for creating a story engaging enough to resist being dulled by the setting. The fact that we’re shown most of the scenes in this setting also contributes to the empathy for Khadija and Luke (Luke Benward), her fellow prisoner. While most of us have never been in this type of scenario in real life, the claustrophobia, and fear created by the environment aids in viewer understanding.
My only real complaint about Wildcat was the sound. There are a lot of scenes featuring dialogue between the lead actor and her captors or fellow prisoner, and I found it difficult to hear. I had to turn the volume up and down quite a bit because some scenes were loud and others too quiet to fully catch what was being said, often in hushed tones or lacking the enunciation necessary to fully comprehend. This took away from fully enjoying the film and connecting on a deeper level to the character’s past experiences.
That being said, overall it’s a solid standout in a lineup of films featuring this trope. In recent years there have been many thrillers featuring either fictional or real-life stories of members of the military. It’s easy for a film, especially an indie flick, to become lost within the sea of this sub-genre. However, Wildcat holds its own among its big-budget peers. The acting, pacing, and tension-building all contribute to a memorable story featuring a strong female lead. I look forward to seeing future performances from Georgina Campbell, and more films from writer/director Jonathan W. Stokes.