Initially, this “thriller/fantasy” 223 Wick film caught my eye because it was very moody and scripted by Melanie Clarke-Pettiella and Jess Byard. I’m always in favor of letting more females write horror, as a former active voting member of the Horror Writers’ Association, so I bought into this Amazon Prime movie, filmed on location in Youngstown, Ohio.
Let’s start with the good things: the music (Rolaz) is good—with the possible exception of a song at the end with the lyric “trapped under the ice.” There is no ice in sight; that line made as much sense as the rest of the plot.
But on with the positive: great settings, although, if the film had answered an early question asked in the script (“What is this place?”) we would all have been better off.
The synopsis on IMDB says, “Plagued by visions and nightmares, a Catholic priest is ousted from his parish. With nowhere to turn, he follows the sinister visions calling him and discovers a deal he alone must stop.”
That synopsis bore little resemblance to the movie’s plot, (such as it is).
Father John, played by Alexi Stavros (he has a great voice!) is in a seminary and seems to be locked in a power struggle with the Dean of the seminary, Father Murphy (played by Jack Dimich). There is a second priest named Father McAndrew (Eric Vaughn) and a third named Arthur, who is played by the director himself, Sergio Meyers II.
The film really does establish an appropriately creepy vibe, but almost nothing makes sense from then on out. Father John is not really “ousted from his parish.” He is admittedly in conflict with the head priest (Father Murphy) but he seems to get in a cab of his own volition and asks to be taken to 223 Wick Avenue, which is as creepy as the seminary building he has just exited. The plot becomes even more incomprehensible once Father John has relocated, starting with much falling and the fact that, for the rest of the film, he will wear a bloody bandage around his head.
Visions do plague Father John, but the idea is pretty much the same one, over and over. It looks a bit like a nuclear explosion. Another character who resides at 223 Wick Ave. (Paul) also seems accident prone and, at one point, after Father John has spent the night at 223 Wick (because he fell down on the front steps and hit his head?) Paul asks him to bless the building, room by room, before leaving, because its owner (Kat, played by Dawn Lafferty) thinks the building is haunted.
The dialogue is stilted, along the lines of “Give humanity back to the Ancient Ones” and “Come with me. Rule like a god.”
Most of the principals in this largely incomprehensible plot do not live happily ever after [or at all]. The Brixton’s own 223 Wick Ave. and there is some mumbo-jumbo about “secret societies” and an all-male fraternal order that is over 100 years old, but we see little of that. The relationship between Kat and her sister is also shrouded in mystery and remains that way.
The setting, music, cinematography: okay. The plot: is not okay. The writers really need to pick up the writing pace if women in horror are going to gain a better footing than they had back when I dabbled in the genre. Overall, this was a moody mess with no idea where it was going and no ability to convey a coherent plot to its audience.