A Fascinating Horror Animation —Review Of Wendell & Wild (2022)
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There are a few screenwriters and directors whose works are unique and interesting. Henry Selick is one of them. He's the brain behind animations The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Coraline (2009) and a few others. Sadly, his films are very few and I'm hoping he produces more in the future. Seeing his name on this film poster excited me considering that it's been a while since I watched an animated film.
After his raving success with Coraline, it is good to see his unique touch, imaginative character designs and storytelling in Wendell & Wild (2022).
This horror animation focuses on Kat, a young girl who lost her parents in an accident and grows to become a juvenile delinquent as a result. She is taken back to her hometown, Rust Bank, years later when the place had fallen apart, to be enrolled in an all-girls catholic school run by a priest, Father Best and a nun, Sister Helley.
Kat has a hard time endearing herself to any of her classmates because she's hardened and believes she's responsible for her parents' death. Still, she becomes close to Siobhan Klaxon, the daughter of a wealthy couple and Raúl, a graffiti artist.
In the underworld, viewers are introduced to two demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, who are tasked with growing Buffalo Belzer's hair who is also their father. The brothers discover that Kat is their Hellmaiden and a good avenue to make their dream of a better amusement park for departed souls come true. They reach out to her.
Sister Helley who is also a Hellmaiden warns Kat to be careful and not reveal who she is to anyone. Kat ignores the warning and enters into an agreement with Wendell and Wild. She gives the demon brothers the condition that she will bring them to the land of the living if they bring her parents back to life.
When the demon brothers come to the land of the living, they face unexpected obstacles from the Klaxons which makes it difficult to uphold their end of the agreement. The question remains will they fulfil their promise to Kat or disappoint her?
Wendell & Wild is a captivating horror animation with a brilliant plot filled with some allegory. I love fantasy and magic realism themes and this animation fits the bill. In my opinion, it isn't scary, being a horror flick probably because of the animation but I suspect it may appear so to children. Though it has a PG-13 rating, this film will do for older teenagers and young adults. The little ones wouldn't understand a thing if they watched it.
I admire that it's centred around the connection of life to the afterlife. One major thing to note is, the demon brothers are not the villains in this story. Unlike most films that push forward demons or monsters as villains, Henry Selick doesn't portray Wendell and Wild as villains. Instead, viewers get the message that there are worse people or things than demons from the underworld. I think this warrants serious consideration.
In this film, we see the Klaxons as a wealthy couple who would do anything to get richer, such as murder the workers in a town and the priest, make a deal with a zombie and demons so they could bulldoze the entire town and raise a prison that wouldn't care for the prisoners. The Klaxons represent those greedy corporate people who would do anything for profits, uncaring of the lives that would be affected or lost. We have them in every sphere of life and they are the real villains.
This animation explodes with creative artistic fire from the brilliant plot, and voice acting, to the soundtracks from Death, TV on the Radio and X-Ray Spex and particularly the animation. I enjoyed the humour and diverse characters. The painting of hell by Henry Selick as an amusement park run by Buffalo Belzer is hilarious and fun to watch.
Overall, I find this one hour, forty-five minutes animation a fascinating watch and give it 4 stars out of 5.
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Other images are screenshots from the movie