Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Dark and the Wicked - Movie Review

The Movie: The Dark and the Wicked

The Director: Bryan Bertino

The Cast: Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr., Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Lynn Andrews, Tom Nowicki, Michael Zagst, Xander Berkeley

The Story: On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.

The Review:
The name of this movie pretty much says it all. The movie is very dark and very wicked. Director Bryan Bertino has created a very moody and deliberate horror movie that slowly builds with a consistent stream of frightening moments. This is classic horror storytelling as most of the movie is very quiet with a disturbing undercurrent of unease and then every once in a while you get popped with a jump scare or other type of jarring scene.

There isn't a lot about the movie that is original as far as the story or in how it is told yet I still found it to be very effective. Marin Ireland, playing the lead role of Louise and has been seen recently in movies like Piercing and Hell or High Water, is really put through the ringer as her character is on the receiving end of most of the scary stuff that we, as viewers get to enjoy. Her reactions go a long way towards selling those moments and she makes the whole experience that much more authentic, I guess is a good way to put it.

Michael Abbott Jr. plays Louise's brother Michael in the movie, both of whom are tasked with caring for their dying father and it was interesting to see them both being harassed equally by the evil demonic forces rather than one being like a hero character while the other flails around just being scared. I think that's one of the things that works for me about this movie and separates it from similar fare is how no one is safe and you never know if any of the characters are really themselves or they may be some demonic version that has taken over.

Visually, as I mentioned, the movie is very dark and the cinematography takes full advantage of small, shadowy spaces to give a claustrophobic feeling that was pretty effective. It's rare that the camera shows wide open spaces or anything all that was well lit except when they were far away from the primary house or anywhere that evil stuff was happening. I could feel the unease building over the course of the movie just from visual cues and how everything just got more and more muted and in a way dirtier or grimier if that makes sense.

The Verdict:
The Dark and the Wicked is a slow burn gothic horror movie that will draw you in and envelope you with a sense of dread. There are only a few real frightening moments but when they hit, they do they're job pretty well. For those looking for something bigger and more fast paced, this won't do the trick but if you want to dive into a an hour and a half of darkness and demons, this will do nicely.

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