Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot to summon them to the Land of the Living.
Review: Directed by Henry Selick, the same talented mind that gave us animated classsics like Coraline and The Nightmare before Christmas, Wendell and Wild tells the story of a young girl named Kat whose parents die in a car accident, sending her on a road to juvenile delinquency and a private school for girls. It’s there Kat (Lyric Ross) discovers she’s actually a Hell Maiden who has the ability to summon her demons named Wendell (Jordan Peele) and Wild (Keegan Michael Key) who promises if she frees them from Hell, they’ll bring her parents back. Through a Series of Unfortunate Events Wendell and Wild are freed but instead of her parents, end up reviving The Evil Dead (that’s TWO name drops if you’re keeping score). So, it’s up to Kat to stop them (and in the process battle her inner demons) to save what’s left of the dying town her parents helped build.
I liked the unique look of the characters, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t find them unattractive. There’s ugly-cute and then there’s just plain old ugly! I do give them points for giving each one their own distinctive look which would be no surprise for those who enjoyed Selick’s previous work. And with Jordan Peele co-writing the script the darker elements of the story are a given. Peele also collaborates with his longtime partner in comedy crime, Keegan Michael Key, and their natural chemistry works well for the comedic and brotherly antics of demons Wendell and Wild.
That said, the main character of Kat wasn’t as compelling or likeable as I would’ve expected, and most of the characters are forgettable including main villains The Klaxons which is a shame as Selick’s previous work has always had both engaging protagonists and antagonists. The only interesting thing I can say about them is the husband is deliberately drawn to look like a black version of Donald Trump. Outside of that both are thoroughly bland and only serve to add to some forced social commentary on private industrial prisons. I wish they had spent more time developing Kat and exploring her “battles” with her inner demons and the guilt that literally possesses her due to her parents’ deaths.
Overall, Wendell and Wild’s slow start and overly long runtime drains the movie of some much-needed energy. The final act sort of makes up for this and scenes that focused on Wendell and Wild are by and far the best parts of the whole affair. It was great to see Selick’s brand of visuals back in action and although I think the musical score and sound design were lacklustre and needed to be amped up a bit more, the artistry behind it all kept me engaged throughout. I wouldn’t rank this up there with my other favourites but if you’re a fan of this type of animation, feel free to check this one out.
Score: 6 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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