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Modern-Day Gothic Atmosphere Enriches Fantasy-Horror Blend

MOVIE REVIEW
Wild Eyed and Wicked

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Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Year Released: 2024
Runtime: 1h 39m
Director(s): Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood
Writer(s): Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood
Cast: Molly Kunz, Michael X. Sommers, Colleen Camp, Stefanie Estes, Claire Saunders, William Ford-Conway, Evyn Flanders
Where To Watch: releases across North America on June 11, 2024, on TVOD/Digital and cable On Demand, with further details on the worldwide roll-out still to come


RAVING REVIEW: WILD EYED AND WICKED reels viewers into a narrative where ancient curses and family secrets collide. Molly Kunz stars as Lily Pierce, whose life is overshadowed by a dark curse afflicting her ancestors. Alongside her father, Gregory, portrayed by Michael X. Sommers, Lily navigates a world filled with legends and knightly quests in a valiant effort to break free from her family's haunted past. What I found most intriguing about the film is what could be accomplished with a smaller budget. This film was incredibly grounded yet absolutely fit the bill as a fantasy film.


Directed by newcomer Gordon Shoemaker Foxwood, this film ambitiously stitches together threads of horror, fantasy, and intense family drama, creating a rich narrative fabric that, while compelling, does encounter some snags. The dialogue occasionally rings hollow, and the plot's reliance on convenient twists might stretch the limits of credulity for some audience members. This isn’t to say the film isn’t still an enjoyable ride!

Its gothic ambiance and meticulously crafted sets visually enhance the moody, dark tale. It’s a unique experience that takes viewers into a world they aren’t expecting. The supporting cast, including Stefanie Estes as Silvia and Colleen Camp as Genevieve, deliver solid performances that anchor the film's fantastical elements, providing a necessary counterbalance to the eerie undertones.

Exploring the film's thematic depth, WILD EYED AND WICKED delves into the profound struggles associated with facing one's fears and the power of overcoming inherited trauma. Through Lily's journey, the story addresses the impact of historical burdens on personal identity and the liberating process of confronting one’s darkest fears. The film thoughtfully examines how the characters use their personal histories as shields and swords, battling against the metaphorical monsters that threaten their future. This deeper examination enriches the storyline and provides a resonating emotional core that invites viewers to reflect on their familial legacies.

Lily’s girlfriend, Willow (Claire Saunders,) infuses the storyline with additional emotional support, strengthening the protagonist’s resolve in her quest. While the film resolves its main plotlines, it leaves some threads hanging, offering a conclusion that, although satisfying, lets the viewers connect some of the dots for themselves.

WILD EYED AND WICKED offers an enchanting addition to indie cinema, drawing fans to a blend of supernatural and intimately personal storytelling. Shot over sixteen days on a family-owned Pennsylvania farm—a location steeped in the personal history of writer-director Foxwood—the film's authentic setting mirrors the narrative's exploration of confronting and overcoming personal demons.

WILD EYED AND WICKED stands out for its originality and the passionate commitment of its cast and crew. The film presents a visual and emotional journey that, despite certain narrative hurdles, offers a captivating and introspective look at the themes of redemption and familial reconciliation.

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[photo courtesy of GRAVITAS VENTURES]

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Chris Jones
Entertainment Editor

Chris Jones is the Mail Entertainment Editor covering Movies and Television topics. He is from Washington, Illinois, and is the owner, writer, and editor of Overly Honest Reviews.