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First Look Review - A WAKEFIELD PROJECT

a wakefield project review
Amid solar flares, a serial killer returns from the dead.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: L.A. Lopes

Starring: Lindsay Seim, Dennis Andres, Anthony Bewlz, Rob Archer, Dan Yeager

a wakefield project poster

We’ve all heard the infamous short (very short) story consisting of only two lines about a child with a ‘monster’ under his bed. This film utilises that in its first scene - clever stuff and I was glad to see it.

Awakening from this nightmare to the world’s worst alarm clock is Eric (Anthony Bewlz), shirtless, handsome and clearly our hero.

He heads to the work-in-progress B&B he’s renovating with his friend Reese (Chris Pratt-lite Dennis Andres) and explains that he keeps dreaming he’s got a child and that he’s been messed up since his dad died, so he’s glad they have each other’s backs. The bromance is real between these two and they have the ‘locker room talk’ banter to show it.

On the television there are news stories about solar flares, but the men don’t seem too alarmed.

Chloe (Lindsay Seim) arrives, the ‘Google order’ psychic that Eric requested. After some uncomfortable sexual harassment that most women would justifiably leave over, she coyly accepts the crudeness as welcome flirting and they get started discussing the history of the town, Wakefield.

a wakefield project review

A heavy exposition scene ensues, which ultimately boils down to Chloe informing them that the inn they bought was previously the home of a killer - Nathan Cross (He-Man Rob Archer).

She proves her worthiness as a psychic by revealing she knows Eric’s father died, and the next thing you know they’re investigating creepy sounds in the basement.

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Chloe shows her affection for Eric by yes, making him a sandwich (I’m not joking), and the next thing you know they’re kissing; I’ll keep my comments on this scene to myself.

It seems the solar flares have broken the veil between the living and the dead, and now the dead are appearing in this world.

As Reese investigates the killer while on his quest to find a VCR, Eric suggests that they enlist Chloe to help them understand what’s going on in the town, as they catch glimpses of ghosts and zombie-like creatures everywhere.

a wakefield project review

Having acquired a VCR from another creepy guy in town, Reese sits back to watch a home movie of Cross that he found while renovating. It shows an entitled angry man who discovered that his girlfriend was cheating on him with his belittling father.

Of course, he blames them for his killing spree, like a true psycho.

And yes, with the veil gone, it’s time for Nathan to make a reappearance and as expected, a brand-new killing spree.

Nathan is an intimidating figure with his hard man face and giant muscle man physique, highlighted by the tank top he gets about in, but it occurred to me while watching this that serial killers really don’t look like this. I guess bringing back a mousy guy with thick glasses, slight podginess and a hatred of his mother is just not how it works in film.

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He moves slowly when he should move fast and even when he moves fast he stops outside of a door that has a big glass panel that he could easily punch through, but for some reason doesn’t.

There’s some gumpf about frequencies/radio signals/flares etc that essentially boils down to trying to mask their human signal so they don’t attract the ghosts that want to possess them and finish their unfinished business.

Turns out Cross has a little unfinished business of his own with Chloe, and he intends to see it through to the bitter end.

a wakefield project review

As a debut feature for director L.A Lopes, this one is a bit of a bummer. The direction is mostly thoughtful and she does well with the subtle earlier scenes but the script by actress Lindsay Seim (Chloe) is just too woeful for this to ever be a success. There are plot strands that go nowhere, undercooked characters, nonsensical dialogue and actions, and no real sense of an end goal.

The CGI is effective and the decision to shoot certain scenes in lower lighting is probably a wise one considering the budget would not have been as high as others, but it works.

The music by Jean Yves Andre is likely intended as a homage to Halloween, but with its plinking pianos and that relentless cyclic motif it just comes out as a rip-off.

The final cat and mouse scene in the B&B is confusing, overlong and muddled, and some of the dialogue - “Do you feel it?!” “I feel it!” - is downright laughable.

This one is pretty silly and unfocused, which is a shame as the two male leads have good chemistry and Dennis Andres in particular is a winning personality onscreen. Maybe he will be in something better next time.

A Wakefield Project is on US DVD and VOD now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.




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