Everything you need to about A Wakefield Project lies right there in the title. Let’s start with the ‘A.’ Is it grammatically incorrect? No, not really. But it does imply that this is simply one of a possible multitude of projects happening in a place called Wakefield. There are not, which brings us to the next problem word of the title – Project. No scientific discoveries are being made, nor are mad scientists experimenting on animals or people; heck, this isn’t even a ghost hunting/ supernatural investigation type deal.
The movie is about Reese (Dennis Andres) and Eric (Anthony Bewlz), two best friends who buy a decade-long abandoned hotel in the small town of Wakefield. They plan to renovate the place into a bed and breakfast. After a troubling dream recurs one too many times, Eric hires psychic Chloe (Lindsay Seim) to help him figure out what is happening.
Unbeknownst to the duo, their new business venture was once the site of brutal killings at the hands of the local butcher, Nathan Cross (Rob Archer). Now, due to anomalous sun flare activity, Wakefield is experiencing lots of odd electrical outages, and everyone’s cellphones are not receiving any signal. Worst of all, is these solar flares are raising the dead, including Natha, who vows to finish what he started all those years ago.
“Unbeknownst to the duo, their new business venture was once the site of brutal killings…”
Now, back to the title. While I do concede that the ‘Project’ of the title might be referring to the renovations, it is the most awkward way of getting that idea cross possible. Wakefield Inn, The Wakefield Hotel, or simply Wakefield would all be more accurate titles. “Why do you keep droning on about the title?” I hear you thinking. Well, because, as I already stated, it is a perfect microcosm of the issues that plague A Wakefield Project.
There’s nothing all that egregiously bad with A Wakefield Project; rather, it is bland and forgettable. Maybe you can’t exactly put your finger on why, because no embarrasses themselves, and the movie makes an admirable effort overall. Much like how the title is not incorrect in any significant way, but all the same, it is a cumbersome, awkward thing to say and watch. Lindsay Seim’s script does take its time to establish the characters and world before unleashing the chaos, about halfway through the film. That would be fantastic if these characters had backstories and depth to them, but they do not.
Eric is the one who convinced Reese to leave the city with him and go in on this B&B. But why? What was wrong with living in the city for him? Did he get fired from his old job? Did someone close to him die? Was it just too crowded, and the rent kept going up and up for smaller amounts of space? I don’t have an answer to any of those questions. Chloe and Eric fall for each other, and she can read psychic energies. Of course, as she’s from Wakefield, she has a personal connection to Nathan. But, that is all there is to her. She winds up not being much more than a prop for the good guy to save from the bad guy.
"…don’t need this kind of film to be scientifically accurate"