Movie Review: The Dark and the Wicked (2020)

Both written and directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), The Dark and the Wicked is a 2020 horror film. Returning to their families Texas farmhouse, Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael Straker (Michael Abbot Jr.) seek to aide their elderly mother (Julie Oliver-Touchstone) in caring for their unwell father (Michael Zagst), but sinister forced begin to take root.

+ the scares themselves won’t necessarily win any award for uniqueness, but they are done in such a way that you’ll be forced to respect them. In this film, it’s not so much the jump scare that will get you, it’s the entire build up. Think of it as a whole film with the tension of that kitchen scene from Bertino’s The Strangers
+ incredible atmosphere. The constant droning (both intentional, and not enough to make you nauseous like some other films) and demonic whispers that permeate almost every scene, making every moment just seem ‘off’. I was reminded in a very positive way of both The VVitch and Foxcatcher, in the way you just know something horrible is coming but were powerless to stop it
+ none of the acting was particularly great or horrible, but you will certainly feel something for the various characters. “That guy” from various other media, Xander Berkeley has a strong showing as a priest and family friend of the Straker parents, with all of the joy that being a priest in a horror movie entails

– straight up, the movie has an unsatisfying ending. Yeah, maybe it was intended to strike up conversation? Or maybe the writer just didn’t know how to end the film

> this has been in my backlog for a very long time, but not because I was putting it off; I simply kept getting new films, games or wrestling events that took precedence

Should you see this film: I loved this. If you don’t mind an ending that won’t necessarily tick all your boxes, this was one of the most effective horror movies I have seen in some time. If you do choose to watch this, definitely put on some fancy headphones to get the most out of it.


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