The Wretched (2020) [Blu-Ray]

After being sent to spend the summer at his father’s, a teenage boy starts to suspect that his something is afoot at his neighbor’s house which leads him to look into a potential witch next door.

Written and directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce (credited as The Pierce Brothers) the films takes the traditional ideas surrounding witches and add in some extra elements to make the film horrific, yet somewhat family-friendly (depending on the family of course). Their work here shows that they are close and can work together really well as there isn’t that sense of there being two directors that some films have. Here, the Pierce Brothers clearly have a unified vision and have an understanding of how each other works which helps the film greatly.

The cast is led by John-Paul Howard as Ben, the new arrival at his dad’s place who gets suspicious pretty quickly. Howard does good work here and gives his character a bit of layers and nuance, something that helps sell the scares. The star of the whole film though is Zarah Mahler as Abbie. Mahler is simply amazing and just perfect in her part. She shows the exact amount of je-ne-sais-quoi to be the creepy person you can really watch and want to see more of while still being a bit scared of her. Her performance here sells the movie so well and makes the story work just right.

The other star of the film is the cinematography by Conor Murphy who creates lush, dark environment where the action doesn’t get lost and the fear can really build. The cinematography is pretty while working well for the horror when it happens and it doesn’t shy away from it. This adds to the film and really gives it an extra depth that is something too many horror films skip in order to get to the shocking parts faster.

While The Wretched is entertaining and has a lot of great moments of creep and dread, it didn’t come off as something that was quite as scary as expected. This is something that is mostly due to being one of the seemingly last reviewers to see this movie and having fallen to a certain level of over-hype. Overall, there is some tension and some good creepy sequences, it’s not the most scary, but in the right frame of mind and without and spoilers, it should make for a fun night of scares.

The only extra featured is a single original trailer for the film. That’s it. Nothing else. It is really too bad as a director’s commentary would have been great. There are a few trailers for other movies in front of the film/start menu, if its any consolation.