When creative minds collide


In 2009, filmmaker Henry Selick released “Coraline,” a horror-comedy mashup for all ages that critics regarded as a modern masterpiece. It illustrated what stop-motion animation, the lengthy process of adjusting and taking pictures of models and set pieces several times every second, could achieve. After taking a 13-year break from directing, Selick recently teamed up with the comedian and modern horror legend Jordan Peele for a new take on stop-motion horror: “Wendell & Wild.” 

“I think Henry Selick is an amazing director; ‘Coraline’ is one of my favorite movies, and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ is a good one, as well. Jordan Peele is a good director, too. From an outsider’s perspective, I think that ‘Wendell & Wild’ has a good premise and the potential to be a great movie,” Kiyair Wilson, sophomore, said. 

“Wendell & Wild” follows 13-year-old Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) who is an eccentric, guilt-ridden teenager at an all-girls Catholic school. Two demon brothers from Hell, Wendell and Wild (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) enlist Kat to summon them to the land of the living but wreak havoc upon her hometown, deceiving her with their greed. 

“I like that both ‘Wendell & Wild’ and ‘Coraline’ do not try to be specifically for kids and focus more on trying to succeed in being a horror film, which is something that Selick and Peele have been doing for years now. This movie really shows how far stop-motion animation can go as a format,” Alan Vargas, senior, said. 

The film provides a remarkably diverse cast. Most of the main cast is Black, while the side characters also show South Asian, Native American, and transgender representation. This marks a milestone in family-friendly entertainment, as representation has wildly increased in the media for ethnic and gender minorities in recent years. 

“Young children watching this film could feel inspired by having important characters to relate to and feel as if their identities are valid,” Luke DeGrendel, senior, said. 

Since the release of “Wendell & Wild,” the reviews have been mixed, yet mostly positive, with a 6.5/10 rating on IMDb and an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has received a variety of criticism and praise, with some complaining that the film rushes through plot points too quickly. Others express their content with this fast-paced story, as the movie’s charm overpowers other flaws. 

“It brings me hope and excitement that different medias of animation will make a comeback in cinema other than 3D [Three-Dimensional] animation. 3D is cool, but it does not have the same charm as 2D animation or stop-motion. It is nice to see something different,” Mya Torres, junior, said. 

To see Selick’s return to horror, the new movie is now available for streaming on Netflix.