Cathedrals will fall, the river will run red... and THE BIRD will be SLAUGHTERED!

REVIEW: Witchita

– By Dave Dubrow

Justyn Ah Chong and Matthew D Ward’s WICHITA is the indie film horror fans hope to see when they check out a new title, but rarely get to. A dragging segment of pacing here and a writing misstep there keep it from genius, but it does achieve brilliance, which is pretty darned close.

The plot’s familiarity keeps the viewer anchored to the story, even when the events spin out of control: the writing team of a failing children’s show is sent to a remote retreat to write 30 episodes in 30 days. Things go to pot when Jeb, the show’s creator, cracks under the enormous strain. Rather than explain how it happens, I’ll simply encourage you to see this movie for yourself.

Trevor Peterson as Jeb initially comes off as a kind of bush-league Misha Collins (who is himself a bit bush-league, let’s face it), but he invests such a strange likability in the role that, despite all the horrible stuff that happens, you still want things to turn out okay for him. He’s awkward, twitchy, and vulnerable, but he has a manipulative, sinister side that makes him as frightening a villain as you’ll see outside of Mads Mikkelsen’s turn as Hannibal Lecter. The movie wisely puts him in just about every scene, even when he’s spying on the writers, which tends to normalize some pretty unacceptable behavior. He’s not good, he’s not the good guy, but he is the protagonist and there’s no movie without him.

The other cast members play somewhat stock roles, most of which are unlikable. There’s the Recovering Alcoholic, the Annoying Dudebro, the Grandmotherly Lady, the Fragile Girl, etc. The Hollywood producers, Jeb’s bosses, provide early laughs in their stereotypically hostile attitudes. The least likable character in the film was Raven, the newest writer on the fictional show: she had a hostile, eye-rolling attitude from her earliest scenes that made you want her to be victimized. Perhaps that was the point.

There’s a segment in the last third of the movie that didn’t work as well, taking us away from the closed-in environment of the retreat. It was a bit unnecessary, added too much to the runtime, and didn’t offer a lot in the way of thrills. Featuring everyone’s favorite horror trope, the Crazy Mom Made Crazier by Christianity, it just didn’t fit.

Still, one overlong segment doesn’t ruin a film, and there’s a whole lot to like about Wichita. Some parts will make you laugh, some will get you squirming, and a few might have you averting your eyes. Whatever your reaction, you’ll definitely have a good time with this film.

 

One Response to REVIEW: Witchita

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slaughtered Bird Films’ horror short film, BURN, nabs festival awards!
We don’t like to blow our own trumpets here at The Slaughtered Bird but, y’know, FUCK IT – we’re damn proud of our debut film production, BURN, created in collaboration with Dragon Egg Media! Since post-production finished last year, our 15-minute short has received numerous excellent reviews, been busy finding its feet on the festival circuit and gratefully receiving many Official Selection laurels from around the world, and now it’s picked up its first award… or three! Read on...
INTERVIEW: David Naughton
untitled It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. Especially on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually rubbish! David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf In London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next. Its tale of two young American tourists coming face-to-teeth with a legendary lycanthropic beast perfectly married a genuinely funny script with razor sharp editing, groundbreaking special effects and a flawless cast to create a monster movie that is still many people’s benchmark today Read on...
Advertise HERE!
CQJR7SyWwAADBd_ We currently have advertising space available at very reasonable rates, so if you have a product you want to let people know about then please email us at theslaughteredbird@gmail.com with your needs and we can give you more info. Read on...