Wendell & Wild is a stop-motion horror comedy directed by Henry Selick, with screenplay written by Selick and Jordan Peele.
The story follows Kat who loses her parents at a young age. Demons, Wendell and Wild, are able to bring back the dead with a magic cream. They promise Kat that they’ll use this cream to bring back her parents in exchange for being summoned. News of this cream spreads and is instead used for devious plans.
Being stop-motion, this film is extremely impressive. All of the animation is smooth and looks amazing. Selick has many years of experience as an animator and director, (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Coraline) and it culminates beautifully in this film. It features a classic Halloween look, with green and purple colors throughout. I love the designs of each character, and the unique features and accessories that shaped each one. It was fun to see how Wendell and Wild even looked like their respective actors (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.)
Every actor was perfect for their roles. Of course, Key and Peele were hilarious as always, this time playing scheming demons. Kat (Lyric Ross) and Sister Helley (Angela Bassett) in particular were really great, and it was interesting seeing their relationship become a mentorship. There is also a trans character, Raúl (Sam Zelaya). However, Raúl isn’t defined by this fact. There is so much more to his character; he’s an artist and an amazing friend to Kat.
Wendell & Wild is a must-watch for the Halloween season. Although there are a lot of themes to unpack in the film, they are each equally important and relevant. It is visually really beautiful, and I love that it is such an inclusive and diverse film.
Wendell & Wild is currently playing in select theaters. It will stream on Netflix October 28.