PREMATURE EVALUATIONS: SOMETHING WICKED 2014 dir. Darin Scott


SomethingWicked_2DThrillers and horror films constantly question whether a situation is supernatural or if it resides solely in the psyche of the character that is our portal into the film’s world. We get that same question posed to us in Darin Scott’s SOMETHING WICKED, but does it tread any new ground?
Following a tragic car accident involving her parents and her boyfriend, Christine (Shantel Van Santen) is reeling from the loss of her parents, almost a year later. She’s trying to get back into the swing of things by attending college at Oregon University. Staying with her older brother, Bill (James Patrick Stuart), a state trooper, and his wife, Susan (Brittany Murphy), a therapist. Bill is a typical over protective older brother, but his reasons behind it are a little dark, as we catch his eyes lingering on the form of his sister. Ugh. Susan even catches him ogling Christine but that doesn’t prevent him from being all the more discrete.
DSC_0387As Christine is going about her day, odd things start to occur, with a dark character quietly stalking her and random possessions of those around her go missing. The identity of her stalker could be anyone but things get progressively more odd as Christine starts hearing her decreased mother and father and catching glimpses of them. Add in the fact that Susan has a patient with a violent history that is having haunting nightmares and hallucinations and is growing fond of Christine.
One great piece of this film is the setting. Set in a random Oregon town, complete with an older style saw mill, it gives a vibe of Twin Peaks, heightening the mystery of whether or not this is happening, is ghostly manifestations, or just all in Christine’s mind.
A148_C003_0530B0_01809A consistent theme throughout is the constant quoting from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. One of Christine’s mother’s favorite pieces, her quoting from the play about fate, haunting and murder comes back again and again throughout the story. With all of that, I hoped that the story would take a sharp right turn and reveal a trio of witches behind the whole thing, but sadly that wasn’t the case here.
Going into this, I was apprehensive as this was the final film of Brittany Murphy. I’ve been a fan of her work since CLUELESS, but really hammered it home with her haunting performance in GIRL, INTERRUPTED. Just thinking about her dying at such a young age, with a good amount of talent, saddens me. So I was hoping that her final film was at least a last hurrah. And for her part, it was. Her performance as the caring sister-in-law and therapist was solid, even getting a nice little breakdown a la DON’T SAY A WORD. However, despite a few solid performances, the story and how it was presented fell short. With an ending that seemed rushed, sadly, we get a weak finale to a decent story, totally neutering any momentum that was built.
DSC_0415SOMETHING WICKED is available on DVD March 17th, 2015.

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