REVIEW: ‘The Wretched’ is Tried and True Horror

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Wretched

Horror is such an easy genre to love because of its fantastic possibility built off of a very comfortable formula. The entire scope of horror in film allows for accessibility and innovation all at once. The Wretched is tried and true horror, through and through. It’s a creature feature that dabbles in some Blair Witch vibes. It has a retro, summer feel that’s reminiscent of Sleepaway Camp. In many ways, The Wretched is a cocktail of all of your favorite horror tropes. Pleasantly mixed to the point of being a refreshing treat. The film is the product of the writing/directing duo Brett and Drew Pierce (Deadheads). The film was genre festival favorite, showing at Frightfest 2019, Fantasia Film Fesival 2019, and the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, among others.

The Wretched invites true terror to an idyllic tourist town where Ben, a rebellious young teen, will be staying with his father for the summer and working at the local marina. The warm tranquility of Ben’s summer is shattered by a chilling presence that invades his neighbors’ home. A malevolent woodland spirit, a skin-walking witch, is preying upon the children of the town. The witch spirits them away and charms away their memory. Ben’s attempts to warn the townsfolk go unheeded and he must take matters into his own hands.

Continuing with its theme of perfectly showcased horror highlights, The Wretched has a particular knack for gore. This film is gross. Not in the “slash ‘em up” sense, but in this creepy and visceral way that’s just plain nasty. Think of the way you can’t help but wince when you feel a bone crack or flesh tear. (It’s giving me the willies just to write it out for you!) The Wretched delights in making the viewer squirm and it’s a damn good time.

The Wretched

As far as scares, the film strikes a happy middle ground. There’s a retro quality to The Wretched that maybe tones down the fright factor for a modern audience. Squeals over screams. It’s still incredibly creepy and has a few jumps and spooks that all factor into how fun the film is.

There’s a lot that The Wretched does well, but it’s far from perfect. It takes the film awhile to ramp up and that can cause the film to lag at times. The lore of the skin-walking witch is never really explained and whether or not that is a good or bad thing is a question of personal taste. I can appreciate the desire for a totally mysterious villain, but the witch is such an interesting monster that I couldn’t help but want to know everything about her.

What really carries The Wretched is its frightening visuals and competent cast. The performances and effects are top grade, which elevates the entire film. Even though the plot has a tendency to wander, the film is just so damn good looking that you’re perfectly content to follow The Wretched wherever it goes.

The Wretched is a real delight. It doesn’t boast and it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. It’s a serving of all of your favorite horrors, packaged in gory goodness. Too much fun for any horror fans to miss!

The Wretched arrives on VOD and digital on May 1, 2020.

The Wretched
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

The Wretched is a real delight. It doesn’t boast and it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. It’s a serving of all of your favorite horrors, packaged in gory goodness. Too much fun for any horror fans to miss!