Wineville Movie Review
Wineville Movie Review Metadata
In Wineville (2023), single mom Tess (Brande Roderick) returns with her young son Walter (Keaton Roderick Cadrez) to the family home and orchards to settle her father’s estate, only to find a serial murderer and family secrets that won’t stay buried.
Tess is estranged from her father due to early child abuse and can’t wait to sell the estate and put the whole thing behind her. Tended to by her Aunt Margaret (Carolyn Hennesy) and local farmhand Joe (Casey King) who Margaret has adopted, Lott Vineyards appears to be a viable orchard but needs a lot of time and reinvestment to make it a working winery. Tess relives some deeply disturbing family secrets as she wrangles with the decision to keep or sell, as former classmate, Sherrif John Hicks (Texas Battle) asks uncomfortable questions around the property involving the disappearance of local tourists. Tess’s world comes unraveled as the memories of her past resurface and her ties to the land are stronger than just an inheritance.
Wineville isn’t the best-written movie you’ll see this year, but the practical effects that drive some of the suspense and horror are top-notch. Vincent Guastini Productions with Vincent Guastini, Eric Yoder, and Jake Porath provide body horror with torture, mutilation, and death. This part of the budget was money well spent.
The overall script could have used a few passes work to smooth out some clunky dialog and rambling monologues, but credit to first-time director Brande Roderick for creating a foreboding atmosphere in sunny California. I believe a talented director can coax solid performances from most material, and in Wineville, she does exactly that. The character interactions felt genuine, the bloody scenes in the barn were well-paced, and the flashback scenes of abuse were tastefully done without being salacious. I can only imagine what she could do with a solid script.
Set in the 1970s, Wineville evokes the era of grindhouse, with graphic scenes of sex and violence and the camera doesn’t shy away. Bright costumes and sunshine along with the subversion of certain horror tropes drive Wineville from mediocre to not too shabby at all. The action propels the plot and for all of gory lingering, it probably could have used a few more deaths. Maybe next time, right?
Wineville (2023) is unrated and currently playing the film festival circuit. It would probably get given a R rating for swears, child sexual abuse, torture, stabbing, rending and poking, as well as suicide.