The Dark and The Wicked premiered on 6th November 2020. Written and Directed by Bryan Bertino, the American horror film stars Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr., Lynn Andrews, Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Michael Zagst, and Xander Berkeley alongside other cast members.
(Not) Home Alone
What if you went back to your home only to find your ailing father dying every day and your mother in a horrific stage without knowing what’s lurking in the house? What would you do?
The Dark and The Wicked revolves around the lives of a family that lives in a remote town in Texas with their own livestock (goats, mostly). Around their farmhouse is barren land with nothing in sight and it is here that we are introduced to our main characters of the film. An ailing father (Michael Zagst), whose health has been on a decline since a long time but is on life support in hopes of recovery. A mother (Julie Oliver-Touchstone), who is fearsome of something, suffers from PTSD and keeps on asking her children to leave, and her two children Michael (Michael Abbott Jr) and Louise (Marin Ireland).
While both Michael and Louise try to comfort their mother, she keeps on asking them to leave saying “you shouldn’t have come”. Later, however, something tragic happens that changes this family forever, dissipating their existence.
The Dark and The Wicked opens in a very intriguing manner, you know it’s a horror film but you don’t know what you are exactly in for! Halfway through the film, you wouldn’t know what evil you have to fear, and this not knowing is what keeps the movie interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Evil finds its roots in this family because of the lack of connection, grief, desperation, fear, and anxiety that they harbour within and from each other.
Another aspect of the film that works out amazingly is the background score that is so subtle at times that it’ll give you the chills. The silence is daunting and unsettling. The use of sound is such that if you were to watch this movie alone with headphones on, you will feel something and the credit for the sound design goes to Joe Stockton who refrains from cliches like noisy floors, random loud screams, and windchimes!
The film’s action and progress are not undefined or do not go haywire; it’s broken down into days (Monday to Sunday). Moreover, the film doesn’t wait long to release hell on the characters, in a week things get bloody and scary. It starts from the moment you enter the film and with each passing hour it builds on the mind-numbing horror and tension.
The initial part of the film calls for the viewer’s attention and imagination and forces them to fill the intentional gaps in the narrative, as the more you invest your senses in it, the more it keeps you at the edge of questions and answers. The evil and the fear is lodged so deep inside these characters and family members that their search for light and life looks like a useless effort.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Slaughtered livestock, white-eyed people, black-eyed people, no priest to seek help from, and more – The Dark and The Wicked is one of the (few) good horror films that I’ve come across in a while that doesn’t rely on cliched ghosts who are just, I don’t know, dark makeup and people-killer with no scares and predictability. The fact that till the end you don’t see your sinister killer but you feel them lurking around you (and maybe in you) is scary enough for 93 minutes of horror dose.
The Dark and The Wicked is now available on Video On Demand.
Read our other reviews here.