The Reel Review
Jenna Ortega stars as the macabre, pigtailed Addams Family daughter in this Netflix dark comedy/mystery series from executive producer/director Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands). After she is sent to boarding school for exacting revenge on some school bullies, Wednesday begins a quest to identify the individual who is transforming into a serial killer/monster as she also tries to solve a lingering mystery surrounding her own family.
The quick-witted screenplay is jam-packed with loads of dry, sardonic humor. And with a top-notch production showcasing some impressive visual effects, Ortega (Scream, X) is exceptional. Simply put, she embodies everything that IS Wednesday. The inclusion of Christina Ricci, whose own career breakout came from playing the character in two Addams Family movies in the 1990s, is a nice nod of fan service as one of the school employees, with an also excellent Gwendoline Christine (Game of Thrones) as the school principal. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzmán (We’re The Millers) and Fred Armisen make brief appearances throughout the series as Morticia, Gomez and Uncle Fester.
Despite its strong performances and solid production, the plot of the young adult-themed series does drag a bit in its midsection, with a sub-plot that feels forced just to give other iconic Addams Family members some screentime. But the twist-filled mystery series quickly regains momentum in its final episodes, making Wednesday an entertaining and charming fantasy series that even has some fun nods to the prior films. And Ortega can dance!
• Christina Ricci replaced Thora Birch (Hocus Pocus, Ghost World), who abruptly quit halfway into the production over creative differences.
• Wednesday was filmed in Romania, including Cantacuzino Castle in Transylvania.
• Christina Ricci was only 13 years old when she appeared in the now iconic scene above from 1993’s Addams Family Values.