New Horror Releases: A Wakefield Project (2020) - Reviewed

A Wakefield Project starts with an opening sequence akin to films about global panic, fooling its audience into thinking that it contains some sort of social commentary or doomsday message.

If only.

Blaming a solar flare for its chaos factor, the film quickly limps out when you realize that the atmospheric phenomenon is merely a reason for the spirits of the dead to come out and play. Even if such a worn out concept was still exciting, A Wakefield Project fails to make the best of it. The title is misleading, as there is no project involved, apart from the renovations done by the main characters in the haunted joint they bought together. 

In short, A Wakefield Project is about two best friends who purchased a notorious inn in the small town of Wakefield. Eric (Anthony Bewlz) and Reese (Dennis Andres) find out that the townspeople frown on their choice of property, leaving them a bit perplexed. That is, until a medium, Chloe (Lindsay Seim), who used to live in the town of Wakefield, fills them in on the history of their establishment. Their property was originally owned by serial killer Nathan Cross (Rob Archer) who died in the electric chair after his last victim escaped and exposed him.

Unfortunately, writer Lindsay Seim and director L.A. Lopes don’t seem to know how to formulate their plot factors into a flowing, coherent film. A Wakefield Project comes off as all over the place with no fluent storyline throughout. The solar flare really has no function in the film and the ghosts it releases for a 24-hour period are as threatening as stale popcorn. 

The acting is quite terrible, except for Dennis Andres whose occasional shades of Dean Winchester makes the film vaguely watchable. Andres is known for his roles in The Strain (2014) and Star Trek: Discovery (2017).

However, Anthony Bewlz (Tooth Fairy (2010) and Killljoys (2015)) bores utterly, while Lindsay Seim (Insidious: Chapter 2) delivers a flat performance worthy of a Razzie. There is no chemistry between the love interests and everything feels gratuitous and awkward in a film that already falls about loosely. 

A Wakefield Project’s components never really come together and it certainly does not even attempt to evoke apprehension or fear. Specters just stand around, and instead of inducing a sense of terror, they just look like a bunch of soulless extras waiting for wrap. The action leaves too much onus on the character of killer Nathan Cross during his ‘roid rage attacks, but still does not inflict feelings of trepidation.

Technically, the film is sound, though. Lighting is used properly to present some atmosphere and the effects are up to par with a film like this, so it is not the worst indie you will see this year. A Wakefield Project has all the clich├ęs and even a beautiful rip-off of the Halloween theme, but it simply does not intrigue enough to matter. There is too much going on in theory, but it all just lies there like a dead hooker, only to satisfy low standards.

--Tasha Danzig