Review: A WAKEFIELD PROJECT (2020)

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Solar flares have been blamed for a lot of things in movies. From conveniently timed communications blackouts to the end of the world. But I think writer Lindsay Seim and director L.A. Lopes have come up with a new one. A Wakefield Project is the first film where solar flares bring the dead back to life. Or at least the spirit of one mass murderer. Who returns when “unprecedented solar flares target North America and Wakefield becomes the centre of a temporary shift in atmospheric energies.”

Eric (Anthony Bewlz, Tooth Fairy) and Reese (Dennis Andres, Defective, Lady Psycho Killer) wanted out of the city. The small town of Wakefield had an inn that had been empty for a decade. They bought and are restoring it. Eric calls in a psychic, Chloe (Lindsay Seim, Portal, St. Agatha) to consult about the hotel and the dreams he’s been having. On their tour of the inn, they find a room with boxes of VHS tapes and some nasty looking hooks. We also find out Chloe has a connection to the town.

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A chance meeting with Sheryl (Eileen Dietz, Clownado, 100 Acres Of Hell) clues Reese into the fact the inn is connected to Nathan Cross (Rob Archer, Incident In A Ghostland, Trench 11) and his killing spree. He was caught and executed after his last victim escaped. The solar flares strike and communications are cut off. Nathan returns to settle the score with his last victim, and anyone who stands in his way.

There’s the core of a good film in A Wakefield Project. But it’s lost in a confusing script that never really explains anything. Lopes has said that the script was re-written on set because “the initial version was not working”. That kind of rushed rewrite would explain it. The whole solar flares thing is a change from the usual cutting yourself over the killer’s hidden grave or mockingly reading an ancient spell. But exactly who it affects and how aren’t clear.

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Reese sees workers in Sheryl’s fields who aren’t there. But they’re all we see apart from Nathan and some of his victims. What about all of the rest of the town’s dead? Why do most of the townsfolk just stand frozen in place while the leads are free to move? In a scene that reminded me of Messiah Of Evil, we see figures crawling over the skylight. Who are they and why can they move?

A Wakefield Project has a few nice touches. As you can guess, the VHS tapes are Nathan’s home movies, including footage of the killings. There are some clues scattered in there if you pay attention. There’s also an attempt to explain why Nathan snapped. Sadly we don’t get a brawl between him and his equally huge father, played by Texas Chainsaw 3D’s Leatherface, Dan Yeager.

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If the rewrites had been done in a less rushed manner A Wakefield Project would have been a lot better. But the results are a confusing mess of a plot and totally undeveloped, generic characters.

A Wakefield Project premieres on DVD and Digital 3/3 from High Octane Pictures. You can find more info on the High Octane Pictures Facebook page.

Our Score

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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