Something Wicked isn’t a good movie but there’s elements that with some help could’ve made it a fun little B-movie. The performance from lead actress Shantel VanSanten is actually not bad and I hope she receives more opportunities with better material to work with. The DVD released by Arc Entertainment is basic with only a trailer and decent to good video and audio transfers.
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Arc Entertainment | R – 97 min. – $20.99 | March 17, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
Note: This review contains spoilers about the plot. Readers please beware.
Something Wicked is a movie filmed back in 2009 but sat on the shelf for 6 years before finally getting a home video release (it did have a limited theatrical engagement in April of last year, however). It’s easy to see why it had a hard time finding a distributor but I have to admit, at its core, there is a good movie in there, if only they had an upgrade in the budget for a more experienced crew and, especially, better visual effects.
Our story opens with Christine (SHANTEL VANSANTEN) having a celebration dinner, for getting into “Oregon University” (which doesn’t exist FYI) with her parents (LANCE ROSEN, BETTY MOYER) and her boyfriend, James (JOHN ROBINSON). The celebratory mood soon turns sour, and a bit hostile, when Christine and James announce their intentions of getting married to which her parents do not approve wanting her to receive an education before settling down. On the way home from dinner, they are hit by a train killing Christine’s parents but somehow sparing both Christine and James who were in the front with James driving.
Fast forward about a year where she lives with her older brother Bill (JAMES PATRICK STUART), a State Police Officer, and sister-in-law Susan (BRITTANY MURPHY), a psychologist. She’s also being stalked by a dark hooded figure with obvious ill intentions against her. There are a few suspects: along with Bill, who spies on his sister changing, we also have boyfriend James (the hooded figured during one attack had his phone) and James’ co-worker at the lumberyard Ryan (JULIAN MORRIS), a troubled young man whose own father, in counseling sessions with Susan, and owner of the lumberyard, is concerned is dangerous. And we can’t discount the supernatural element either as Christine’s dead parents shows up with Shakespearean quotes scribbled on windshields and mirrors.
Acting-wise, nobody really stands out, considering the limitations of the dialogue and screenplay, though I will say Shantel VanSanten, of “One Tree Hill” fame, does give a good (and quasi nuanced) performance and even character actor James Patrick Stuart is thoroughly creepy. The others, and that includes Brittany Murphy in her final movie, are mostly filler from Julian Morris (“Pretty Little Liars”) to John Robinson (Transformers) who are fine I suppose.
Speaking of the story (written by a pair of new scriptwriters), I will admit the twist was fairly good, although not unexpected; however it does bring up questions about certain scenes that came before, in particular one at the pool. Save for that, I did enjoy that aspect and if this was given a re-write from an experienced script doctor, it might’ve made for a perfectly acceptable B-flick.
Something Wicked actually isn’t an altogether terrible movie and instead might’ve been, in a strange way, overly ambitious for what I assume was an inexperienced crew – director Darin Scott’s credits include American Horror House a.k.a. Sorority Horror House a.k.a. Paranormal Initiation and House Party: Tonight’s the Night – and an unsurprisingly limited visual effects budget that rivals the ridiculousness seen in the Scary Movie movies.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
The only feature we get is the trailer (2:29).
VIDEO – 3.5/5 | AUDIO – 4.5/5
Something Wicked is released (finally) on DVD via Arc Entertainment presented with an anamorphic widescreen transfer and outside of some pixilation (kind of normal for DVD releases nowadays, let alone a low budge one), colors are mostly good and it looks like a clean enough picture.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track meanwhile is quite impressive showing off excellent depth, fair use of the LFE channel and crisp and clear dialogue levels throughout. It’s as immersive of a standard Dolby track that I’ve encountered on DVD.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Something Wicked isn’t a good movie but there’s elements that with some help could’ve made it a fun little B-movie. The performance from lead actress Shantel VanSanten is actually not bad and I hope she receives more opportunities with better material to work with. The DVD released by Arc Entertainment is basic with only a trailer and decent to good video and audio transfers.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman