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Film Review: Wendell & Wild (2022)

by Emily Nagle

Halloweekend is off to a spooky start with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline director’s latest film Wendell & Wild releasing on Netflix today. This ambitious horror comedy starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele boasts brilliant stop-motion visuals in addition to providing a unique look into grief.

Wendell & Wild looks like nothing else that’s come out this year. It’s got quirky, uniquely designed characters – for example, demon brothers Wendell and Wild have contrasting body shapes that are super cartoonish and exaggerated. There’s also parts featuring ghosts and shadows that give an almost mixed-media look to the film, in the sense that they appear digitally drawn into the shots.

In an era of celebrity voice casts, Wendell & Wild gets bonus points for casting authentic voices for such a diverse group of characters; in addition to the main character being a Black teen girl who’s coming to terms with the death of her parents (voiced by Lyric Ross), there’s also a trans boy who makes fast friends with her due to understanding her loneliness (voiced by Sam Zelaya). The best part of the film’s inclusive cast is that it doesn’t make a big deal out of these differences; the characters are treated as people first, and we jump right into their significance to the story.

Although this movie came out right around Halloween, its message about coming to terms with trauma and grief will resonate any time of year. If you’re a sucker for creative animation – particularly if you’re a fan of eerie stop-motion movies in the same realm as Coraline and The Corpse Bride – or just love all things scary, then Wendell & Wild is the perfect film to satisfy your creepiness craving!

Wendell & Wild is available to stream now on Netflix.