Wendell and Wild is a stop motion horror/comedy about Kat Elliot and her two demons, Wendell and Wild. With an all-star cast and crew including Henry Selick (director,writer,and producer), Jordan Peele (writer, producer, and voice of Wild), Lyric Ross (voice of Kat), Keegan Michael Key (voice of Wendell), and Angela Bassett (voice of Sister Helley) this movie could not fail. The movie disguises itself as a horror about hell and demons, which it definitely has both. But the true horror in the film is the prison industrial system.
Wendell and Wild takes us into the world of Kat Elliot, a girl living in the town of Rust Bank. She loses her parents in an accident and ends up in the foster care system for five years. She is determined to hate herself for the rest of her life for causing her parents deaths. Kat returns to Rust Bank to attend Rust Bank Catholic as a part of the “Break the Cycle” program. However, Kat notices quickly that this town is not the same Rust Bank she once knew. Klax Korp corporation took over the town. Almost no one lives there anymore since the root beer brewery her parents once owned burned down.
Kat unfortunately attracts the attention of brother demons Wendell and Wild during class. Wendell and Wild are both desperate to leave the underworld ran by their father Buffalo Belzer and build their dream amusement park. They claim her as their “hell-maiden,” tricking her into raising them from the underworld in exchange for bringing her parents back. After this, Kat goes through the typical ups and downs of making promises with demons while uncovering Klax Korp’s plot to demolish Rust Bank, expand their private prisons, and become even more filthy rich. It’s up to Kat and her ragtag group of friends, demons, and the undead to save the town.
The plot of Wendell and Wild is good, like really really good. In a time of reboots and poorly thought out sequels, it’s very refreshing to see a new and creative story. The movie stands out with an almost entirely of color main cast, openly queer characters, and many others from different backgrounds.
A lot of other stories that try talk about the realities of prison feel corny and forced, this one doesn’t. Wendell and Wild is incredibly honest, showing how the deliberately designed system failed Kat. Siobhan, daughter of Klax Korp’s CEO’s, learns the purpose of private prisons after years of lies, through her, the audience sees not a broken system, but one working exactly as intended. The movie contains tons of humor, showing us that even demons from hell don’t like private prisons.
The movie has small faults. Like most movies it were a show, there would be more time to go into detail about certain plot points. However, the only point that really falls a little flat for me is police being a part of the saving the day, they aren’t a huge part, but for a movie that is so creative in its storytelling, especially of horrors of the prison industrial system, it’s a slightly disappointing moment. Still, this is an incredible movie, it is surprisingly heartwarming with healing moments for your inner child. It is an easy watch, and on its way to becoming a cult classic.
Wendell & Wild is streaming on Netflix now! For more from Sydney check out her review of the final season of Owl House now!