Books

{Hulu} Wounds Explained-Of Gnosticism, Abraxus, and Cockroaches

Wounds on Hulu right now is a filthy, display of disgustingness that you can’t unsee.

 Things start dark from the very beginning. A quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness clues you in early this will be a bumpy ride. There are not enough showers and Raid to help you shed those images. Necrotic face injuries, endless vertical tunnels, decapitated heads left on the carpet, and so many cockroaches. There’s seriously way too many bugs. As gross as it is, it is also downright terrifying in its total ambiguity. Wounds features some top-notch gore and even better allusions which drive the dread laden horror. This is not a slasher where you know who is running from whom, with it’s a straight linear line of plot, but a twisty turning mass of worms and bugs chittering across your skin. Here’s the skinny on the action.

Courtesy of Hulu

 Things start dark from the very beginning. A quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness clues you in early this will be a bumpy ride. There are not enough showers and Raid to help you shed those images. Necrotic face injuries, endless vertical tunnels, decapitated heads left on the carpet, and so many cockroaches. There’s seriously way too many bugs. As gross as it is, it is also downright terrifying in its total ambiguity. Wounds features some top-notch gore and even better allusions which drive the dread laden horror. This is not a slasher where you know who is running from whom, with it’s a straight linear line of plot, but a twisty turning mass of worms and bugs chittering across your skin. Here’s the skinny on the action.

The Story So Far

Long story short, Will(Armie Hammer) is a bartender at a dirty dive bar in New Orleans. At first blush, he’s a charming enough guy if maybe a little to familiar with some of his patrons. While working the night shift one night, his sort of friend Eric who lives his life completely plastered, gets in a knock-down drag out with another drinker. In the melee, he gets a beer bottle to the face, and almost everyone leaves the bar. At the same time, a group of underage college students leaves one of the cell phones in their haste departing.


Once home Will starts getting ominous messages about someone needing help, which he ignores. Flash forward to the next day, and now those messages include an gory image and a mouthful of teeth. He and his girlfriend have some drama which is totally unimportant, and he begins getting messages asking if he likes the pretty pics. This is where things really get wonky. There is nothing pretty about the pics. Rotting heads are never attractive. For reasons I can’t imagine, he calls Garrett one of the underage drinkers. A terrible piercing noise hurts his ears, and he drops the phone. 

Finally, he realizes that things are out of control and he tries to take the phone to his policemen friends, but before he can get there the college girl who is stalking him steals the phone. The cops half believe his story even without the phone, and he returns home to find Carrie(Dakota Johnson) staring at a creepy tunnel on her laptop. Will’s grip on reality continues to unravel as he has more and more visions of bloody stuff, weird eyeballs, and bugs.

Carrie has done some sleuthing on her own, and Will invades her privacy to find it. He finds references to Gnosticism and a book The Translation of Wounds. This book teaches that wounds on the body can lead to an enlightened plane of existence, allowing for communication with higher beings(demons, I guess in this case). He goes to work again, where he gets completely blotto with Alicia(Zazie Beetz). They leave the bar and go to a park for some light making out. Before things get too out of hand, Alicia puts a stop to things, and he drives her home. 

At work the next day, he gets a message from Carrie that someone is in the house and bolts. Carrie is back at the computer where she has been for hours, proved by the urine stain below her chair. For me, this was one of the most disturbing things, and there are so many. After a grimy bath, he puts her to bed, and asks about her message. She remembers very little putting Will even more on edge. Scared the next day, he breaks up with Carrie, quits his job, and possibly eats an eyeball out of Eric’s cheek. The End. Sounds insane, right? It was. Now, here’s all the answers you need.

What is Gnosticism?

Gnostic’s believe religion, Christianity specifically, is a philosophy. Starting with that Jesus could not be the son of God as he was human. A spiritual being could not inhabit a regular person. An offshoot of this theory posits Jesus was two people residing in the flesh of one. The physical body and the spiritual one. Doubting Thomas is the most famous of the Gnostic’s as he needed proof that Jesus was resurrected by touching the wounds left from his Crucifixion. 
The duality of Thomas and Gnosticism, in general, is seen throughout the film as Will, who seemed amiable enough, is not the content, well-adjusted person he first appears. He is actually a cheating, self-conscious, jealous troll who wants to make everyone wallow in the same pit of despair he is in. Interestingly, two movies in the last year, this one, and Mandy have both alluded to the religion. It’s possible both the demon in Mandy, Abraxus, is the same trickster demon seeking to invade Will’s body. Director Babak Anvari dived deep into the abyss by exploring the idea of wounds and their power to transform a person. In the case of Will, his armpit wound left him susceptible to whoever was summoned by the dumb college students. As the movie ends and Will is kissing/eating/sucking an enormous eyeball out of Eric’s cheek, he says, “Fix me, make me whole”. Considering how things worked out for Eric, I’m not sure that is the right move, but you do you Boo Boo.

What is with the bathtub water?

As Carrie is lowered into the bath after her marathon tunnel watching session, the water turns dark brown. Unless the girl hadn’t bathed in years, there is something else at work here. Will sees the change, Carrie, not so much. She, after all, woke after hours of meditation to find herself naked in a bath. She may not quite be registering everything yet. The poison that tried to invade her while watching the video leaked out of her through osmosis into the tub. She is not a weakminded person, and so with help, she was able to shed the evil and return to the world of the living. Will, on the other hand, as Carrie points out, is a “mock person”. He is desperate to be someone or at least have others think he is someone. That is why he is chosen. All show and no go, he’s a man of little substance, and that is his downfall. His self-inflicted wound under his arm was the point of no return for him.

Was Garrett actually in Will’s kitchen?

Yes and no. Garrett is the current manifestation of the trickster demon, so he came to Will in his dreams. His own words to Will prove that. He tells Garrett that, “it’s in your bedroom right now staring at you as you sleep”. Will is dreaming the encounter. That does not mean it isn’t real, however. The Gnostics believed in alternate realities called Pleroma and that is how the Garrett and Will communicated. As he slept, he entered the Pleroma in his dreams. It’s generally not good when worlds collide so the dark ending should come as no surprise.

Does the Translation of Wounds Exist?

Nope, never did. It was the original working title of the film. It sounds super creepy, though.

What is with all the cockroaches?

Cockroaches are common symbols for long life, rejuvenation, and adaptation. In part because of their extreme ability to adapt to their environment in real life. Spiritually, they are closely aligned with the same characteristics for the soul. The demon looking to find a new host is adapting to his surroundings like a champ going from one dummy to the next until he finds just the right moron to hang his hat on. That moron is the superficial Will. His wound gave the demon all the invitation he needed. Will’s evolution is just starting. Visually the bugs popped on screen  because they are just vile repulsive creatures.
Wounds is one gross bit of madness that will leave you wishing for a bleach bath. This shit is just nasty. Stream it on Hulu now, or check out the source material Wounds by Nathan Ballingrud below.

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