A teenage boy arrives to spend time with his father who is separated from his mother. However despite the tension between them, he soon begins to think that there is something strange going on at the neighbours home…
When I was at FrightFest in 2018, there seemed to be an inadvertent theme, with a few films about nuns running over the festival. FrightFest 2019 seemed to do a similar thing with a few films involving cults and heading into folk-horror territory. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with either themes, it was just an interesting observation.
The Wretched was written and directed by The Pierce Brothers and I have to say the story has some interesting twists and surprises, including a late in the day development, that I actually thought very clever and worked well. The idea of a creature that can make you forget people, is a clever little touch and I thought the film used it well.
The film is also very well directed too, The Pierce Brothers build the tension slowly, giving the film an uneasy quality at times, not giving you the jump scares you might expect. It’s a creepy film at times, as you wonder how it’s going to play out.
If there is a flaw it’s that events in the climax are slightly similar to a film I saw earlier this year, called The Hole In The Ground. Now, I’m not claiming the similarities are intentional. Both films were likely being made at the same time and this can happen. It’s just an unfortunate coincidence. But it does have that ‘been here before’ aspect. I imagine if you watch both these films the other way round, you may get a similar reaction too and to be fair, I don’t think it’s a major issue here.
The very end, I have to admit was perhaps a scene too far. I don’t think it was needed personally.
The cast are great. John-Paul Howard plays Ben the teen at the heart of the story and is very good indeed as he investigates his neighbours. Piper Curda plays Mallory, who works with Ben, often mocking him at times, only to be dragged into the horror going on. Jamison Jones plays Ben’s father and does good work, the tension between himself and Ben is well worked without ever feeling forced. The others, including Zarah Mahler, Azie Tesfai and Blaine Crockarell are good support.
The score is suitably unsettling, it’s a very well shot film, contrasting the sunnier aspects of the harbour scenes with the darkness during the night ones. I was really impressed with this film.
The Wretched was a film that had me intrigued since I saw the FrightFest listings. I love folk/horror type of films and this seemed like it was made for me.
Those very minor flaws aside, it was. It was one of the scariest films shown at FrightFest.
Well worth seeing when you can.
Rating: **** out of 5