Christina Ricci made her first good impression as an evil yet endearing young girl. Her role as Wednesday in the film The Addams Family (1991) had indeed imposed her strange and fascinating face on Hollywood. So, let’s face it, her comeback with a small role in the universe of The Addams Family thirty years later is a delight. The heroine of Yellowjackets appears in the credits of the live action series Wednesday, available since November 23rd on Netflix. Even if she only plays a secondary character – a school employee at Nevermore dressed like Helena Bonham Carter – the actress who used to play the gothic kid in two films of the 90s horror and humor saga permeates the whole season with her whimsicality and her vibrant gaze.
As for the rest, we’ll have to wait and see. For Wednesday lacks the compelling morbid charm of the previous stories about the Addams Family published in the New Yorker – the 1930s original cartoons are the starting point of all the other adventures – or released on television and on the silver screen. Out of eight episodes, four are directed by Tim Burton, the series’ executive producer. Yet, the presence of the master of gothic aesthetics hasn’t been a token of quality for a long time. In the Netflix production, the audience follows the daily life of Wednesday, a hostile teenager with pale complexion and raven-black looks, who studies among werewolves and other outcasts at Nevermore Academy, a boarding school reminding us of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter saga,.
The young girl, who despises her classmates and everyone else, is investigating a series of murders involving supernatural elements while trying to escape from Nevermore. Actress Jenna Ortega (Scream, The Fallout) is the hot stuff and thrills us in her interpretation of the stereotypical outcast, especially when she dances to a Cramps song. The very sexy Catherine Zeta-Jones also shines in her role as Morticia Addams. However, the dark humor is much less pungent in the Netflix show than in the 1990s Addams Family film series. The whole project lacks absurdity, sarcasm, weirdness, and surrealism, which are four key elements of the family’s wacky universe that the 1960s black-and-white show perfectly reproduced. To some extent, Wednesday offers is a cheap gothic version of it, reworked for the TikTok generation through jokes on social media and teenage quarrels. By the end of the eighth episode,it feels more like one has watched yet another teenage show, like Elite, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, or Riverdale with a sprinkle of Harry Potter, rather than a jewel of macabre irony with biting lines designed to make the world’s misfits feel less alone.
Wednesday (2022) by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, available on Netflix.
The Trailer "Wednesday" (2022), available on Netflix