Wanton Want (2021)

Update, March 2022: You can now watch Wanton Want as a free-with-ads stream on Tubi. Other viewing options are available at the end of this review.

If you grew up watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer, then you’ll have an immediate streaming interest in Wanton Want, the ninth indie feature film from Joston Theney. In addition to starring Nicholas Brendon, who portrayed Xander Harris on that TV franchise (1996 to 2003), the film also stars Tuesday Knight (who got her start in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; with eleven films in various states of production) and Phillip Andre Botello (the 2019 Jesse Eisenberg vehicle, The Art of Self Defense). In support are Shoshana Wilder (Roku’s 2021 original series, Cypher) and a 55-indie credits strong Jackie Moore.

Wanton Want is the story of Douglas Paynter (Nicolas Brendon), a lackadaisical writer with hopes to shatter his recent bout of writer’s block and create his “magnum opus” by taking a remote (uh-oh), weekend getaway with his wife (Jackie Moore). No writing, however, will be done on this retreat: Paynter’s estranged friend Dan Mackie (Phillip Andre Botello) crashes the weekend with his femme fatale wife Pia (Shoshana Wilder) as the noirs of film slip and the screws turn when their once causal, sexual secrets and obsessions come to a head for a fatal weekend.

During a promotional interview for his second feature film, Axeman (2014), at Bio Gamer Girl, Atlanta, Georgia-born producer and actor, writer and director Joston Theney cited Takashi Ishii’s penned Evil Dead Trap (1988) as his favorite horror movie:

[I’m] probably gonna catch hell for this but Evil Dead Trap. It’s ruthlessly violent and gory. It’s dark and moody, and it’s visceral and gritty. It doesn’t pull any punches. It was made at a time and in a nation where films of that nature were pretty much banned. But a very ballsy [Toshiharu Ikeda] found the money, dug deep and made a truly disturbing and jaw-dropping film when it was very unpopular and detrimental to your career to do so.

Evil Dead Trap? What type of person chooses that film of all films as their favorite horror film? Passing over the oft, ad nauseam-cited bloody trinity of Carpenter, Cunningham, and Craven for a U.S-obscure director from Japan? You know what that means: Mr. Theney passes “GO!” and collects $200 bucks and becomes part of the B&S About Movies family.

Sadly, we don’t have $200. We can’t even afford to offer Joston a B&S drink tumbler or mouse pad. But we can review his movie.

I’ve been a long time fan of film in general. Growing up, I was always a quiet kid. I was always kind of shy. Movies and television is what I always turned to. As I grew up, I created my own little stories and stuff, short stories. I had a little comic book I started. I think all of that, overtime, naturally led to me picking up a camera.”
Horror Fuel, 2017

I say make a good film, show it where ever you can and tell everyone you can. You can’t just rely on social media. It’s only a cog in the machine. Without it, the machine doesn’t function properly, but you can’t focus solely on that or the rest of the engine will fail. Fans need to see it, feel it, sniff it, etcetera, and only hearing you yap about how awesome it is isn’t going to suffice.”
Horror DNA in 2014

Growing up on ’80s slashers and never really growing out of them . . . this was and always has been my favorite era of filmmaking. It was a time when creativity and entertainment value were the things that drove film.”
Sandwich John Films, 2014

As you can see from Joston Theney’s previous insights, he’s an accomplished filmmaker with a cause; a filmmaker that doesn’t wait for the studios to come to him. So, with that, he’s created nine feature films since 2011, which includes his Axeman trilogy, along with a tenth — The Tale of Two Faces — in post-production. As an actor in the frames of his own works, you’ve also seen the writer-director in the uber silly, but very entertaining streamer Snake Outta Compton (2018). He’s also appeared in the latest, unofficial entry in the ongoing Jurassic mockbuster franchise, Jurassic Hunt (2021)*.

The Amazon Prime and IMDb reviews for Theney’s self-produced efforts haven’t been kind, but there are a few that “get” his efforts. In preparing for my review of Wanton Want — not being familiar with his works — I spent some time with three of his films. While there are, as is the case with any self-made filmmaker blazing their own trail, cinematic faux pas (see the great Flywheel as an example), Joston Theney is certainly not an incompetent filmmaker; he knows how to act-structure a screenplay and create character arcs, and he’s learned his craft with each film in his past as he matures with the next film. That’s the sign of a true filmmaker: growth, as Joston Theney doesn’t make the same mistake — or the same film — twice. Courtesy of having the most recognizable and thespian-strong cast of his now ten films, Wanton Want proves Joston Theney’s tremendous growth as a filmmaker, as his ninth effort is by far his strongest effort. This may also be, with the exception of his in-post-production The Tale of Two Faces, his last self-produced film.

Last film? I am wishing him bad luck? No, exactly the opposite.

Joston Theney is infinitely ready to be called up to the indie-shingle big leagues; he’s professional prepared to tackle damsel-in-distress flicks, even romance Christmas romps for the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels (if our beloved Fred Olin Rey and David DeCoteau can make em, why not). So watch Wanton Want today, so you can say you remembered Joston Theney, then.

For it will happen for him, sooner than later. He’s a filmmaker to watch out for and remember.

Wanton Want will have its VOD release on September 28, 2021, via Amazon Video, GooglePlay, and YouTube Movies via Indie Rights Movies; you can learn more about their catalog of films on Facebook and stream them at their Amazon Prime portal. Other recent releases from the Indie Rights Films shingle we’ve reviewed include A Band of Rogues, Banging Lanie, Blood from Stone, The Brink (Edge of Extinction), Chasing the Rain, Double Riddle, The Girls of Summer, Gozo, Loqueesha, Making Time, and Still the Water.

You can keep abreast on the latest with Wanton Want on Facebook and Instagram or go direct to the source at the Joston Theney’s official website. You can also read more of his insights on film with interviews at Final Girl and Search My Trash, along with a new interview, post-Wanton Want release, with Authority Magazine.

As you wait for the debut of Wanton Want, you can catch up with Joston’s work on Tubi with the free-with-ads streams of Snake Outta Compton, along with his horror directing efforts Adam K, Axeman at Cutter’s Creek, and Stained. If you’d prefer your Joston experience ad free, you can VOD stream his efforts via his Amazon Prime page.

* We reviewed Jurassic Dead (2017), Jurassic Thunder (2019), and Attack of the Jurassic Shark (2021), as well as breaking down the Universal franchise with our “Watch the Series: Jurassic Park” featurette. And be sure to look for Jurassic Hunt, starring Joston Theney, which hit the streaming platforms on August 24.

Starring Joston Theney!

Disclaimer: We received a review request from the filmmaker prior to the film’s distribution. That request has no bearing on our review of the film. We researched and retrieved all review quotes within this review — on our own. Those materials were not provided to us by the filmmaker, any PR firm, or film studio now associated with the film.

About the Author: You can learn more about the music journalism, fiction and screenwriting endeavors of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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