THE WRETCHED – A Review by Cynthia Flores
I usually don’t review horror films because they scare me. So when I was asked to review this new film from the writing and directing team of the Pierce brothers, I was hesitant. With real-life horrors such as quarantines and a pandemic, I wasn’t sure I needed any more to be afraid of right now. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that I kind of liked this not too scary movie. The brothers aren’t the best of storytellers, and the characters in the film are not that compelling, but the film does manage to creep you out a bit. There are some excellent special effects, and the stylized cinematography of Conor Murphy sets the tone and look of the small seaside town. Add the moody music score by Devin Burrows, and you get some fun jump in your seat moments in The Wretched. It won’t scare any hardcore horror fans, but it will make much younger audiences want to check out that creaking sound they hear at night, just in case.
This film starts with a prologue that sets the story thirty-five years in the past. An unknown babysitter gets to the home of her clients and goes down to the basement. There she finds the mother in the basement ripping the neck out of her young daughter. As she flees, the husband slams the door in her face. Locking her in the basement. On that door is scratched the symbol of an upside-down triangle with what looks like antlers on the top sides. Flash forward to the present and the story of Ben (John-Paul Howard), a teenage boy who is struggling with his parent’s separation. He’s been sent to stay with his dad Liam (Jamison Jones) and little brother Paul (Judah Abner) for the summer. His dad puts him to work at the harbor docks with him. It’s there that he meets Mallory (Piper Curda), a teen who works for his dad as well and has a crush on Ben. It looks like it is going to be a long summer of dealing with the rich kids at work and befriending the renters for the summer house next door. They’re a sweet family with a new baby and little boy named Dillon (Blane Crockarell), who is befriended by Ben at the docks. One day his mother, Abbie (Zarah Mahler), brings home a deer they hit with the truck. She’s going to teach her young son how to gut and dress the buck just like her dad did when she was little. Unfortunately, the guts spill out, and they’re rancid. Unbeknownst to Abbie, an ancient witch known as a Dark Mother, born from root, rock, and tree that feasts upon the forgotten has actually hitched a ride inside the carcass of the deer. That’s why the insides have rotted out. Abbie decides to deal with the mess in the morning, and she and her family go to bed. In the middle of the night, this evil mother with long nails that would make singer Billie Eilish green with envy crawls out of the carcass and goes hunting. The baby is the first to bite the dust, and then she possesses Abbie and uses her as a host to walk around and pick and choose who she will feast on next. Ben is the only one to figure out who or should I say what she is and must fight to save his family from this evil that makes the world forget it’s victims ever existed.
The Wretched is being released to Drive-in movie theaters across the U.S. as well as VOD. I give this film a 3.5-star rating and think it’s the perfect kind of film to see from your car at a drive-in with your friends.
Directed by: Brett Pierce, Drew T. Pierce
Written by: Brett Pierce, Drew T. Pierce
Selig Rating 3.5 Stars
Running Time: 1h 35min
Wide Release: May 1st at Galaxy Drive-in and VOD
Starring: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Jamison Jones, Zarah Mahler, Blane Crockarell, Judah Abner
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.