After months of anticipation, “Something Wicked” has finally come.
“Something Wicked” tells the story of a widow Hauwa (Ireti Doyle), whose recently orphaned nephew Abel (Okey Uzoeshi), moves into her home from the violence-riddled Northern Nigeria, after the murder of his parents.
Hauwa is a single mother to Daniel (Gabriel Afolayan), Becca (Beverly Naya) and Esther (Ivie Okujaye) .
Whilst she struggles with the challenges of balancing a failing business and single parenthood, a strange Abel, who rarely speaks struggles to fit into his new family.
There is also the free-spirited Claudia (Adesua Etomi), Hauwa’s colleague and friend who is willing to sell her virginity to save Hauwa’s failing business.
“Something Wicked” is well-made and well-intentioned movie, told with a blend of coldness and humour. Even when it seeks to frighten, it still evokes laughter from viewers.
It doesn’t start with so much action. For a psycho-drama, it’s first and second acts are hampered by a slow-paced script and doesn’t kick off with enough scares to build tension from the start. Most of the first and second acts is just about a worried Hauwa trying to save her business alongside her chatty employee and friend, Claudia.
However, viewers are kept glued to the screen by hilarious moments offered by the weird relationship between Daniel and his girlfriend Vivian (Omawumi Dada) and the friendship/banter between Hauwa and Claudia.
We are also introduced to Clarissa (Bisola Aiyeola) a neighbour who is addicted to alcohol, wrong parking and getting into daily altercations with Hauwa. There is also the on and off relationship between Becca and Oscar (Timini Egbuson). All of these characters slowly create a third-act that is redeeming, entertaining and chilling.
With a perfect resolution, the third-act of “Something Wicked” redeems it, offering the darkness, spooky music, anticipation and fear of the unknown that provoke fear as well as tears.
The cast, especially Okujaye and Uzoeshi, turn in fine, layered performances, and keep the movie on its track.
As a hearing and speaking impaired Esther, Okujaye gives an applaudable raw performance, uttering just a word in the whole movie. Okujaye delivered a character obviously worthy of her 2017 AMVCA ‘best supporting actress’ nomination.
As Abel, Uzoeshi is perfect, strange and intriguing. Whether he is being nice to Esther, giving Oscar a chilling look or rejecting Clarissa’s advances, the actor effectively communicates and gets the audience to respond to his deadpan expressions.
Afolayan brings life into all his on-screen characters, and as Daniel, he is talented, hilarious and lively.
Small and surprising details take on great importance in the movie – like the back door which Hauwa had asked Daniel to fix in the first minutes of the movie.
The movie comes with twists. Some you’ll see a mile away, while some are so unexpected. Nevertheless, they all trigger plenty of loud shouts of applause and awed sounds of surprise.
As a thriller, when the answers start to come in and the action kicks off, you’re hoping to learn more about the villain. You’re hoping that there is a traumatic reason behind the actions exhibited by this character. The disappointment that comes with the unanswered questions is suddenly excused by a twist.
A movie which was headed toward a predictable conclusion takes an unexpected turn with an unexpected twist. A twist that makes “Something Wicked” seem like the beginning of something more. You immediately entertain the thought of a sequel.
“Something Wicked” has occasionally eye roll-inducing moments, all thanks to Clarissa’s sometimes exaggerated sense of humour. But, it’s at the end of the day, an entertaining and chilling whodunit kept in track by its lead performances.
“Something Wicked” isn’t arduous or complicated to watch. It is simple, as it does what it sets out to do – be a psycho-drama.
Despite its faults, “Something Wicked” is an excellent debut for first-time producers Okey Uzoeshi and Isioma Osaje.
With good directing, cast, performances, and a surprisingly satisfying jolting end, the movie packs a punch.
“Something Wicked” premieres in cinemas nationwide on February 17, 2017.
Credits: Chidumga Izuzu