Wild Eyed And Wicked Image

Wild Eyed And Wicked

By Bobby LePire | June 12, 2024

Wild Eyed And Wicked is a unique blend of drama, fantasy, and horror that delves into the complex themes of trauma, grief, and neglect. The lines between reality and fantasy blur in this ambitious feature-length debut by writer-director Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood. Does the filmmaker successfully navigate this intricate terrain?

Every night, Silvia (Stefanie Estes) shares a medieval tale of knights and monsters with her daughter, Lily (Evyn Flowers). Tragically, Silvia is battling inner demons and takes her life, an event the young girl witnesses. Two decades later, Lily (Molly Kunz) is still haunted by the incident, her nightmares a constant reminder. Her relationship with her father, professor of history Gregory (Michael X. Sommers), is strained due to his reaction to the tragedy.

On the positive side of things, Lily’s fencing instructor job is going quite well, and she’s started getting serious with her significant other, Willow (Claire Saunders). When Gregory calls Lily to have her come home so she can take anything of her mother’s before he finally discards it, the young lady is apprehensive at first. Her therapist, Genevieve (Colleen Camp), helps Lily talk through why it should happen, even if just for closure’s sake. However, once back at the house she grew up in, Lily begins seeing creatures in her camera that aren’t there. Is she losing it, or is something haunting Lily’s childhood home?

“…Lily begins seeing creatures in her camera that aren’t there.”

Wild Eyed And Wicked runs 1 hour and 39 minutes long, though it is paced like it is much shorter. There is no fat to trim anywhere here. Every scene has a point, whether it is advancing the plot, or Lily’s character arc, or both. As such, there’s not much breathing room, but that doesn’t mean the emotional beats get the short shrift. The thing that could do with a bit of expansion is why Lily’s mom loves medieval times and how the demon going after her ties back into that mythology. But given that the monster and Silvia’s death are more instigators than anything else, that’s not much of a problem.

When Lily first returns home, she and Gregory have an exchange about his drinking. It might be brief, but the moment says so much about how he reacted to his wife’s demise. Even more minor characters, such as fencing student Liam (William Ford-Conway), even get a moment to show empathy and humanity. All this highlights how Lily keeps people at bay, intentionally or not, to keep herself from experiencing such pain again. Thus, seeing Willow bring Lily out of her self-imposed loneliness proves to be very sweet. Lily’s arc proves to be grounded and relatable, even when the fantasy elements become more prominent.

Wild Eyed And Wicked serves as a showcase for Kunz’s exceptional talent. Her character is put through the emotional wringer, and she delivers every moment with precision. She delivers the word “thrash” with such gentleness, it underscores the tenderness the character strives for. Kunz’s portrayal of the horror and fantasy is convincing, adding depth to each twist in the plot. Sommers brings a stern yet loving presence to his role, while Camp and Saunders ground the film with their performances.

Wild Eyed And Wicked is a film that ambitiously tackles a variety of themes and genres, and for the most part, it succeeds. The cast, led by a standout Kunz, excel in projecting the emotional stakes and intensity of the narrative. The story maintains a good pace, allowing most elements to be explored nicely. While the film doesn’t fully embrace the horror genre, the fantasy setpieces are authentic and effective. Overall, Foxwood has crafted a promising debut that boes well for his future projects.

For more information, visit the official Wild Eyed And Wicked site.

Wild Eyed And Wicked (2024)

Directed and Written: Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood

Starring: Molly Kunz, Michael X. Sommers, Claire Saunders, Colleen Camp, Stefanie Estes, William Ford-Conway, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Wild Eyed And Wicked Image

"…ambitiously tackles a variety of themes and genres..."

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