Wild Eyed And Wicked Poster

Wild Eyed and Wicked (2023) Review

Wild Eyed and Wicked opens with a young girl named Lily (Evyn Flanders, Brave the Dark), hearing a noise outside in the dark and, picking up a sword and shield, goes to investigate. Silvia (Stefanie Estes, End Times, Lion-Girl) her mother tells her to get inside, which she ignores. As a result, she gets to witness her mother put a gun to her head and pull the trigger.

The now grown Lily (Molly Kunz, The Irrational, Widows) wakes from seeing her mother’s death in a nightmare and heads off to give fencing lessons before having a session with Genevieve (Colleen Camp, Deadly Games, Monstrous), her therapist, about the nightmares and her anxiety concerning her estranged father Greg (Michael X. Sommers, Requiem for a Scream, The Matrix Resurrections) contacting her as the anniversary of that night approaches.

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We also know something else is going on because, as she takes a picture of her girlfriend Willow (Claire Saunders, The Intern, Those Tiny Pieces) a clawed hand briefly appears. Is it something supernatural, or is she more disturbed than it first appeared?

The story of Lily Pierce is inspired by my wife’s experiences helping herself and others build paths to recovery
regarding trauma and mental health battles, all part of her world as a medical doctor in NYC and Pennsylvania. And
fun fact, when the faceplate of Lily’s helmet is down in this film, that’s my wife Elizabeth doing the sword fighting
and riding (in plate armour!).

Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood

Writer/director Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood (Visible Poetry Project, Ten Shots) based Wild Eyed and Wicked on his wife’s experiences as a doctor dealing with mental health and trauma issues. And the first half of the film plays out like a psychological drama about a woman coming to grips with a troubled childhood. An idea that’s reinforced when she accepts her father’s invitation to visit, and goes with a pistol tucked into her waistband, suggesting something truly awful lurks in their past.

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And there is indeed something lurking there, but not what most of the film’s characters think. Her family does have something stalking their bloodline, it’s where Wild Eyed and Wicked that separates it from more traditional horror fare and justifies, at least to a degree, the fantasy tag the filmmakers put on it as well. Because to defeat the creature, she’s going to have to quite literally put on her armour and grab her broadsword.

Foxwood however is in no rush to get to that point, and keeps Wild Eyed and Wicked a slow burn of a film for most of its running time, focusing on the psychological aspects of things while occasionally tossing in a bit of atmosphere or a jump scare. For the most part, it works, although at times it does rely on overly familiar tropes such as the cassette player from her childhood suddenly playing on its own, or the unseen something locking her in a closet

Foxwood shot Wild Eyed and Wicked on a sixteen-day schedule on his family’s farm, and while for the most part it does have some rough edges. Several night scenes are extremely underlit and hard to make out, That includes the showdown with the creature, made worse by the fact Lily’s armour is black. Granted that’s not an issue confined to this film, though, lighting issues seems to be becoming more common in indie films over the past couple of years

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There’s also some very unrealistic and forced sounding dialogue to contend with. This is partially offset by the talented cast, but you may still find yourself rolling your eyes a couple of times and/or rewinding to be sure somebody said what you thought they did. Especially during one tense father/daughter argument, when her dialogue had me questioning why Greg didn’t just send her packing.

Overall, though, Wild Eyed and Wicked is an interesting film that blends psychology and generational trauma with some horror and fantasy elements. Granted, for some viewers the suit of armour may be taking things a bit too far, but I thought the script did a decent job of justifying it. Worth a watch, especially if you’re in the mood for something different.

Gravitas Ventures has released Wild Eyed and Wicked to VOD and Digital Platforms in North America, with a worldwide release planned for later in the year.

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