Something Wicked: Premonition (2017)- Movie Review 

Genre(s): Psycho-Drama, Thriller

Director:  Yemi Warafa 

Running Time: 100mins

Cast: Iretiola Doyle,  Adesua Etomi, Beverly Naya, Okey Uzoeshi, Gabriel Afolayan, Ivie Okujaye-Egboh, Keira Hewatch, Omowunmi Dada, Bisola Aiyeola, Timini Egbuson and Emem Ufot. 

                  *** Spoiler Alert***
“Something Wicked” is centred on the family of a widow Hauwa (Iretiola Doyle)– a traditional Nigerian family of northern-Nigerian origin. The movie starts with the entire family having breakfast at the kitchen island as they all prepare to leave the house, Madam H as she is fondly called by her assistant Claudia (Adesua Etomi) tells her kids that her recently orphaned nephew Abel ( Okey Uzoeshi) showed up at their door step after midnight and narrates how he was mugged leaving him stranded. Daniel Ali (Gabriel Afoloyan) is not particularly ecstatic about Abel’s presence in the house. They all get hurried by their mom and they head to the car to leave. A neighbour known for her drunken late nights is fond of parking her car by the gate, causing obstruction and making it difficult to drive out of the car park. 

An argument bursts outside the house as Daniel Ali is about driving his siblings Becca (Beverly Naya), Esther Mai (Ivie Okujaye-Egboh) and his mom to school and work, one of the neighbours Clarissa (Bisola Aiyeola) has a knack for always getting drunk, coming home late and parking wrongly- causing obstruction. They eventually leave and Madam H gets to work, thinking how she can get a 20 million naira investor. She brainstorms with Claudia on her they can convince Alhaji- a potential 20 million naira investor who turns them down when expectations of his own are not met leaving a devastated and frustrated Madam H. she call her sister Safiya who introduced her to inform her of the disappointing meeting with Alhaji, she leaves work and drives for home as she cries in the car. 

Back at the house, Abel (who has been mute since his arrival and keeps to himself) cleans up the kitchen as Esther Mai comes back from school to meet a glass of juice with her name on a sticker note attached to the glass, as she drinks it she draws a smiley on the sticker to show her appreciation to Abel. Becca is at the campus with her friends as her boyfriend passes totally ignoring her which leads to a later confrontation and argument between them.

Daniel Ali (Gabriel Afolayan) on the other hand is in a “silent” relationship (where they touch, kiss but don’t speak- get it?!) with his somewhat gothic looking girlfriend Vivian (Omowunmi Dada). Abel and Esther are beginning to form a bond as they spend time together playing chess, Esther asking if she can assist him in the kitchen, communicating through sign language- Esther is dumb and Abel is mute (Perfect!). while playing chess Abel witnesses an argument between Becca and her cheating boyfriend Oscar (Timini Egbuson). Daniel knows about the argument and teases Becca to have a “silent relationship” like he does.

At Madam H’s office, Claudia uses her saved up money for new car to buy Bags of rice, Madam H is ecstatic, telling Claudia she loves her and she’s an heaven sent. Claudia teases her about putting her virginity for sale on the internet (virginity that she doesn’t have oo), although she’s serious about it. 

Next morning, another- usual altercation with Clarissa occurs but this time it’s with Madam H, who puts her in her place, heading for work late while having to go pick up her assistant Claudia who has found an alternative solution to their problem. .

In quick succession of at the second half of the movie, different series of events play out, Clarissa is missing after her last altercation with Hauwa, an investigator Ahmed spits his way through his investigations and questioning, Becca is beaten by her boyfriend causing a furious Daniel  to take up the matter and try to kill Oscar, warning him to stay clear of his sister. Esther’s school teacher joins the missing person’s list, Hauwa is being questioned causing speculations that she might have something to do with the incidents – this is where the plots gets obviously predictable. Claudia- who is smitten by Abel tries everything to make him she her which leads to her last resort of seduction one evening, this is where the plot and storyline totally changes from the semi-boring, slow paced drama to the thriller aspect of the film. A Pscho-Killer is made out of Abel as Claudia snopes on his hidden secrets which leads the film to a series of unfortunate events-a killing rampage of everyone in the house while Hauwa is still at work as she gets a warning call from her sister. Hauwa eventually makes it home but meets all her children dead as Abel chases her to do same to her,  just as he strangles her on the kitchen floor and leaves, we hear a doorbell ring,  and Hauwa is thrown back to life- only this time from a nightmare (Hence,  the movie subtitle: Premonition). Waking up from a dream like that to answer the doorbell that late at night, to find her nephew Abel by the door- that’s where the real scare starts.

Overall Thoughts: 

Iretiola Doyle does a great job in portraying a career driven single mother of 3 who makes out time for the family with genuine concerns about how everyone’s day went. Her dialogue with the film’s other characters were effortless even with the integration of the native Hausa language.

The very free spirited and witty Claudia played by Adesua Etomi is one of my favorite character in the entire movie,  she was fun to watch,  never weird and those sexual innuendos from her were acted to the T. She did a good job of playing the sexy, cocky but yet a caring good friend and assistant to Hauwa. She was the life of this movie. 

Daniel Ali character was magnificent, Gabriel Afolayan took on a role you’d normally not see him in and personalized it, a rough, non-chalant side to this personality usually inconsiderate and carefree, stirring trouble. Gabriel did a nice job of bringing Daniel to second favourite character.

Esther Mai was a little too dorky for me, Ivie Okujaye portrays Esther a girl who can’t speak and the last child of Hauwa. She tries in her sign language but a lot of times are hands were all over the place,  making me think- Abeg she should calm down small. Her sometimes portrayal of excitement messes the sign language and leaves me feeling confused but she still tried but for me, she over did it. 

Rebecca “Becca” portrayed by Beverly Naya was the one of the subtle character, with even her own drama – arguments and altercations between her on/off boyfriend and herself.. Her character’s presence in the movie was rather calm, same story circling around her, same drama,  nothing interesting.

Clarissa the drunken-late-nights-blockade-neighbor. Just merely looking at her face wI’ll make you laugh or roll your eyes, her cameo scenes were a delight to watch. She was portrayed by Bisola Aiyeola. 

Abel, the mute and weird looking creep in the house. Abel’s character played by Okey Uzoeshi, who did a good job of acting as a creep in the house.  He was weird to watch by the time you get used to seeing him in the movie,  it becomes clear that something is obviously off about this character. 

If you’re like me who questions and replays the previous scenes in your head while sitting through a movie, you soon come to realize the predictability of the movie. 

Overall, “Something Wicked: Premonition” is quite a simple movie to watch. The film was slow paced at the beginning begging the question where do all these characters’ story lead to? As a psychodrama and thriller,  it does a poor job of scaring us and giving us what would make us grip our seats.. There was less scare, more humour and eye rolling than required for a psychodramatic thriller even though the humour was welcomed. The series of events at the end of the movies begs the question what is wrong with Abel?”  which is easily an answerable one but then again did Abel actually do those things? is the question the end credits set out to answers which is excused by the twist,  making you think of the possibility of more- this I didn’t see coming (a sequel perhaps) but the long slow paced-no-sign-of-a-thriller-streak plot which goes on up until the end was made less torturing with Claudia’s sometimes exaggerated sense of humour and sexual innuendos.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 

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