616 Wilford Lane (2021) Review
The plot of 616 Wilford Lane revolves around a cliché that I’ve never understood the popularity of. A person or in this case a family picking up and relocating from a major city to some small town in the middle of nowhere after a tragedy. It makes no sense, and I’ve never known, or known of, anyone who did it. But for some reason, it’s become the starting point of an incredible number of films. This is one of the few where it ultimately ends up making sense.
Here it’s Jim (John Littlefield, Hulk, Black Limousine) who, after the death of his wife, moves himself and two teenage daughters Staci (Alyson Gorske, Battle Star Wars, Devil’s Triangle) and Randy (Jessica Chancellor, Robotapocalypse, The Final Level: Escaping Rancala) to the rural, if gated community, of Auburn California.
Local real estate agent Austyn (Jasmine Waltz, Black Water, Cheerleader Massacre 2) seizes the opportunity to sell off the mansion at the title address. The agency has just upped the commission on it for some reason. Thanks to a title card that tells us that we’ve had it wrong all these years, the Number of the Beast is actually 616 and some security camera footage that brings Amityville 2: The Possession and The Amityville Murders to mind, we already know why they’re so desperate to sell it.
The fact it’s going for less than a third of what it’s worth should be a hint that the place has issues, but the chance at a bargain overwhelms his good sense. Birds flying into the windows as they unpack and their neighbour David being played by Eric Roberts (The Cove, Ape vs. Monster) should have confirmed that it was cursed. But, as with so many cinematic families before them,
616 Wilford Lane was co-directed by Mark S. Allen and Dante Yore who also co-wrote it along with Howard Burd. The three of them have worked together previously on several films including Apparition, Fear Pharm and Fear Pharm 2. Here they’ve put together an enjoyable if not very original ghost story.
We get everything we expect from 616 Wilford Lane. The folks of Auburn, CA seem a bit too friendly and welcoming. Jim hooks up with Austyn while Randy catches the eye of local boy Matt (Jon Herrmann). Staci just acts rebellious and starts sleepwalking. All the while, doors close by themselves, bottles of whisky take a dive off the counter and the spirits get real feisty when the girls have guys over.
Then in the last ten minutes, 616 Wilford Lane gives us a coda that tosses a major twist at viewers. One that will probably piss off a lot of viewers. I’m not going to drop a spoiler, but I will say I wasn’t amused by it. The way it’s handled makes it a little easier to take, but I can’t imagine too many people being happy with it. Those who do like it, will probably love it.
For most of its length, though, 616 Wilford Lane is an entertaining enough film. There are a few scares and plenty of eye candy to keep your attention between them. Just don’t stop to wonder what Jim does that he can afford a seven-figure home and never seem to go to work. Or why the town would be so desperate to cover up a murder. Or why two high school girls would have such large breast implants?
There doesn’t seem to be a trailer available for 616 Wilford Lane. Which is odd considering they’re sending out screeners So, until I get one here’s the only footage I can find, the middle part of Ms. Gorske’s demo reel, sandwiched between footage from Battle Star Wars and a film I don’t recognize.