06th Mar2020

‘A Wakefield Project’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lindsay Seim, Dennis Andres, Anthony Bewlz, Rob Archer, Dan Yeager, Pedro Miguel Arce, Eileen Dietz, Brie Sutherland, Avery Esteves, Patrick Walker | Written by Lindsay Seim | Directed by L.A. Lopes

wakefield-project-poster

Well, well. I’ve seen solar flares used as a myriad of excuses in sci-fi movies, from the rising tides to the earth’s temperature spiralling out of control and everything inbetween. But never, ever, has anyone decided that solar flares can bring back the dead. Until A Wakefield Project.

Eric (Anthony Bewlz) and Reese (Dennis Andres) invest in a property in the little town of Wakefield. Chloe (Lindsay Seim, who also wrote the film) a medium, who used to live in Wakefield returns to her roots to enlighten the new entrepreneurs on the history of the town. The property was originally owned by Nathan Cross (Rob Archer), who’s post mortem crimes stain the entire town. On a day when unprecedented solar flares target North America, Wakefield becomes the centre of a temporary shift in atmospheric energies as the living see the dead walk among them…

Well I say bring the dead back to life, but it’s not like these undead folks are dangerous, in fact most are just hanging around living their best [undead] life. Some do try to warn our protagonists, who don’t listen till its too late of course, but only ONE person comes back from the dead on a mission. Unfortunately for Eric and Reese that person is the former owner of their property, Nathan Cross, who just happens to be a notorious serial killer… and killing people is his mission. Oops.

Ahhh yes, the undead serial killer. Now THAT is a familiar horror trope. One that been used, in one form or another, is genre films for decades: in the bodies of dolls, as non-corporeal spirits that travel via electricity; hell even Michael Myers could be classed as an undead serial killer, as could Jason Vorhees! We also get some stereotypical old VHS tapes left lying around that offer the protagonists some clues as to what kind of man Nathan Cross is and what they can expect from his return from the dead. Luckily for Eric and Reese one guy in town actually has a VCR to watch them on. I wonder if in the future we’ll ever get films featuring people discovering a horde of old DVDR home movies?

Sorry, I got distracted. Mainly because A Wakefield Project has lengthy moments of padding that allows the audiences mind to wander – one of the films few foibles. The other being those damn solar flares. They get blamed for literally EVERYTHING that goes wrong in this film – bringing back the dead, cutting out phone signals, power outages, cars cutting out. You name it, the solar flares did it! There’s also plot thread that those familiar with any kind of ghost movie will see coming a mile off which the filmmakers seem to treat as some sort of shock twist – when it clearly isn’t.

In the end A Wakefield Project is a mist-mash of genre tropes that don’t all coherently gel together. It’s not a bad film per se, its just that everything all feels a little muddled, with anything that can’t truly be explained being put down to those damn solar flares. The film does have some damn creepy visuals at times though, proving that there’s a least some nuggets of greatness hidden in the disorder.

A Wakefield Project is out now on DVD and VOD, in the US, from High Octane Pictures.

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