Looking to catch a quick horror tale with the usual flavor of gore in the presence of a monster? Here is THE WRETCHED, a fast-paced horror thriller written and directed by Brett Pierce & Drew Pierce (the makers of Deadheads). While the film is not all unique in terms of content or treatment, it is kind of a decent tribute to many horror films with its universal appeal.
What’s the story in ‘The Wretched’?
‘The Wretched’ follows a troubled teen Ben (John-Paul Howard) whose parents are divorced and he is now sent to spend the summer with his dad, Liam (Jamison Jones), in a lakeside resort town. During his time away from school and mom, he also gets to work at a local marina, but things do not seem that easy as he not only has to deal with the local rich brats, but also has to be sociable with his father’s girlfriend Sara (Azie Tesfai).
Things quickly turn worse when he discovers something weird happening around the family next door. Ben’s neighbors Ty (Kevin Bigley) and Abbie (Zarah Mahler), who at first seem all a normal happy family with their young son Dillion and a toddler, start acting strangely and hence Ben’s suspicion drives him to investigate the matter on his own.
In one of his encounters with Ty when Ben asks for his boy Dillion who was missing from a sailing lesson, Ty outrightly rejected that he never had a boy. Later what Ben finds from the internet that it is a terrifying ancient witch from the woods, who goes beneath the skin of the mother and slaughters kids. At the same time, the witch captures the minds of the family members and make them forget everything as if they never had any children. Knowing the chilling reality, Ben must now act to end the skin-walking witch’s reign of terror.
Is ‘The Wretched’ a good horror film?
‘The Wretched’ is not all unique as we have previously watched such films with witches or demons in disguise, but it pictures the horror with a mix of several elements of the scare, including a scary monster, demonic possession, satanic symbolism, body horror and the whole fear of something sinister always lurking around. Yes, we may recall movies like Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and few others like It, and Fright Night.
While the references confirm the Pierce Brothers’ apparent influences from many such films or even to the point of Alfred Hitchcock or Steven Spielberg’s films, ‘The Wretched’ shines with those elements of suspense, twist, quick narrative pace, and of course, limited but great imagery of an ancient witch.
Performance-wise, we see some decent acting from its cast, particularly John-Paul Howard and Piper Curda with their onscreen chemistry, and Zarah Mahler as Abbie. All in all, ‘The Wretched’ is a likable horror film (at one point in the film, it also bespeaks to be a psychological case, but that never takes offs).
‘The Wretched’ – Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video (watch the trailer)
Writer(s) & Director(s): The Pierce Brothers (Brett Pierce & Drew Pierce)
Starring: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Zarah Mahler, Azie Tesfai, Jamison Jones, Kevin Bigley
Distributed by IFC Midnight
Release Date/Year: May 2020 (VOD)
Where else you can watch ‘The Wretched’?
The movie is now streaming on multiple platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, VUDU, Spectrum, and more. Please click here to check the options to watch ‘The Wretched’ at home.
Talking about indie horror films and the subject of establishing something of a primal fear kind or horror from folklore, here is yet another independent horror film ‘Legend of The Muse’.