HOLLYWOOD─I had been hearing about this indie horror movie for weeks, and with theaters closed, the notion of renting a movie just drives me bonkers. I rather buy the movie or simply see it at the multiplex, but “The Wretched” which was growing in popular because of its showings at the drive-in, caught my attention. Yes, you heard me correctly the drive-in is making a comeback. It really gave me a neat idea of a potential movie that I will keep to myself (you have to be careful when good ideas pop into the mind).
With that said “The Wretched” is a fun horror movie, one of those movies that while not stellar has a sharp narrative that is not attempting to be smarter than what it is, has a great hook in the beginning that keeps one intrigued until the very end. The movie was made on a small budget, but I will be completely honest, if no one ever told me I would have never known. The cinematography captures a beautiful scenery of Michigan where the film was shot, imagery of the state that not many people have an idea exists.
The movie follows a supernatural being, or dare I saw a witch who feeds on children. Now, I’ve always been against horror that places children in the plight of danger. I don’t know if I find it taboo or just something I care NOT to see on the screen. I had trouble with the 2017 remake of “It” and its 2019 sequel because it placed children right in the danger of evil and I don’t like that. “The Wretched” also place children in the path of evil, but not in a way that is over the top in terms of violence and thematic material.
The suspense this movie delivers is so well paced and palpable that I could not take my eyes away from the movie. I wanted to know what was going to transpire and how things would ultimately conclude and that is the makings of not a great movie, but a stellar horror movie where it’s hard to surprise the audience people. The movie’s protagonist Ben (John Paul Howard), finds himself living with his dad, in the midst of his parent’s divorce. We don’t get the whole tale behind why Ben has a cast on his arm, which one would think would be an immediate plot worth exploring. We get that answer, but a bit later in the story that works.
However, it is Ben who first starts to realize something sinister is in his presence. There is an evil lurking. Not just the weird sounds he hears, but his strange neighbors next door and the number of children disappearing. Yeah, it felt a bit like “It” at first, and I also harkened the movie to “The Grudge” and “The Ring” with the shadowy dark figure moving like a contortionist making odd sounds along the way. So the thriller loses points for not delivering a villain that is 100 percent unique in my opinion, but the movie delivers a twist that I DID NOT see coming from a million miles away in addition to a clever ending that sets the stage for a potential sequel people.
I really wish this pandemic did not take effect because this movie I’m certain would reach an even bigger audience if it got the release that it duly deserved. However, if you are looking for a movie that will leave you entertained, offer some scares and deliver something that leaves you a bit unnerved at night “The Wretched” should be on your list. Yes, the title sounds scary, but it’s not as vicious as one would think people.