A WAKEFIELD PROJECT ** Canada/USA 2019 Dir: L. A. Lopes. 88 mins
Friends Eric (Anthony Bewlz) and Reese (Dennis Andres) leave the city and move to small town, Wakefield, after buying a property to renovate and relaunch a B&B. The renovations are slow, they keep hearing weird noises and Eric starts having nightmares. Eric calls in a medium to check the place out. Chloe (Lindsay Seim) confirms to Eric that the energy of the place is off and that Eric isn’t going mad, yet she seems to be holding out on some bits of information on the place. Reese finds a bunch of home movies on video tape in the basement and on his way to get a VCR player talks to one of the town’s residents who warns him about the house and lends him a book about its history. They discover the house was once owned by the notorious Nathan Cross (Rob Archer), a butcher that captured, tortured and killed six women. Only being discovered when his seventh victim managed to escape, alert the police and have him sentenced to death some ten years prior. Reese sees an opportunity to promote the murder house aspect but his excitement is quashed quickly when a well timed solar flare phenomenon breaks the veil between the living world and the dead as Cross returns to his house looking for revenge. Despite being written and directed by two actresses familiar with horror genre; Seim (St. Agatha and Insidious 2) and Lopes (Poltergeist 2015 and The Unleashed) seem to have got this very muddled up. Described as a horror/sci fi/ thriller they may as well have not bothered with the sci fi element and just had it play out as a straight up paranormal/slasher as it would have made far more sense that way. The solar flare is barely mentioned save for some newspaper articles in the opening credits so anything that subsequently happens because of this is just a confusing mess. The acting is pretty wooden from the extras and woolly from the main cast but propped up well enough by Andres and a small appearance from Eileen Dietz. Rob Archers towering frame of bulging muscle and angry grimace is fearsome but a shame he is not featured that much. It does convey a bit of suspense yet has a tendency of drawing it out that bit too much you kind of lose interest. The score is quite in your face but very effective. Nothing much to speak of in the way of effects, doesn’t really have much of a body count either. A couple of practical effects involving meat hooks but it is all shot in very gloomy lighting so you’re never really sure of what you are seeing.
Review by Sarah Budd