A young man, struggling to find his way in life after his parents separation, discovers that a 1000 year old witch has targeted the young family next door. But who will believe him? In this dark but enthralling fairy tale horror…..
Its quite easy at times to get a horror fan onboard in what you are trying to sell. Some nostalgia plays a huge part in your enjoyment on a film, as it invokes memories of old, especially if you haven’t, for a while, seen a plot used many times in films, rear its head once more. For many horror fans, The Wretched uses many familiar beats that will wrap around you like a much needed comfort blanket.
The clever opening set-piece that uses every horror trick in its book, gets the addicted adrenalin going to appease those wanting a new thrill and its to the huge credit of The Pierce Brothers that they know this market and what it needs and brings it to the table in massive spades.
What happens in The Wretched is not original by any means, but thankfully still feels fresh and will no doubt get fans talking and find the necessary audience which in return should lead the brothers into much bigger things, hopefully still in this genre.
The opening gambit in which we see a babysitter arriving at a home, to find wilted flowers and then a gruesome discovery in the basement, sets a tone for the horror to come. It really is an outstanding beginning that heightens the expectations to what this dark fairy tale is all set to offer.
Yet, we then settle into some sort of slow burn, with the directors more than happy for the viewer to get to know their characters before their fate is revealed. The film’s protagonist is Ben (John-Paul Howard) who is adapting to his parent’s separation and on visiting his dads summer home, not only discovers his Dad is already in a new relationship, but also something strange is happening in the house opposite.
Before we can utter the words “Fright Night“, Ben is looking out of his bedroom window to see the deadly occurrences that are happening, while everyone around him doesn’t believe him, but unlike that classic Tom Holland flick, here the ominous tone and dreaded beat makes this a straight horror where the main ambition is to scare without the need of a laugh now and again!
Instead of a Vampire, we now have a 1000 year old witch, who has targeted the family next door, and much like Charlie Brewster and Kale Brech before him, only Ben can stop her, but that is not before some startling horror sequences that really lifts the film from many other releases out there at the moment.
There is a creepy plot vice that when Ben questions the Dad and warns him that his children are in danger only to get the reply “That I have no children”, really tickled my horror love, while there is one outstanding set-piece that sees the Witch knock on the door of Ben’s house, in an eerie summer dress, that seems sprinkled with blood to warn him of the danger he is in, that is already now one of my favourite scenes of 2020.
Its not all perfect! The climatic showdown is too cliché heavy with a lack of freshness not really enticing the tension, while a final twist is a show of the hand that many will see coming, which will result more in a sigh than the supposed “WOW!”.
But its the journey to that finale that brings out the much needed pleasure, where a dreaded atmosphere builds an eerie air that makes sure that unlike the children on here, The Wretched in being one of the most recent horror movies that you won’t forget in a hurry…..