Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His relatives gather to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares, and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.
I have some instructions for watching this movie.
1) Turn off the lights
2) Turn up the sound
3) Put down the damn phone and get ready to be terrified!
Review: I enjoy all horror movies, even the crap ones (I tend to have them playing in the background while I get my game on) but it’s rare for someone like me to find a horror movie that not only grabs my full attention, but genuinely manages to scare me. I’m not talking cheap jump scares or loud obnoxious noises, I’m talking about building an atmosphere so filled with dread and tension, you find yourself holding your breath and dreading every scene where the sun sets because you know, this is when the demons come out to play.
Set mainly in one location, a farmhouse in the middle of nowhereville, The Dark and The Wicked tells the story of a man and a woman, brother and sister who return home to be with their father in his final days. Their mother doesn’t want them there though, and tells them they shouldn’t have come. What seems like simple family drama evolves (or maybe devolves) into something much more sinister, when someone dies and the siblings come to a horrific realisation – their mother was right, they shouldn’t have come home.
Director Bryan Bertino is no stranger to the the genre, with his slow burn thriller The Strangers scaring audiences back in 2008. I don’t know what happened between that and this movie, but Mr Bertino cranks up the terror dial to 11 in this movie and creates the kind of horror I would equate with something like The Exorcist. Now to be clear, I don’t find most of that iconic classic scary, I really don’t. The possession stuff is disturbing but never really affected me. It was the quiet moments where Pazuzu’s face would eerily pop up in the background, or in the corner of the screen, that made the hairs raise on the back of my neck. And The Dark and the Wicked is chock full of those types of moments and atmosphere.
Playing the troubled siblings are Marin Ireland (The Umbrella Academy/The Empty Man) and Michael Abbott Jr. (Fear the Walking Dead/Loving). They perfectly craft two characters who are both struggling in their lives and trying to balance their relationships with each other and their parents. And when the horror unfolds you’re so invested in them both, and watching them fall victim to the evil that’s hunting their family is genuinely gut-wrenching.
I don’t want to give away too much about this movie so I’ll just add the cinematography, sound design, acting and slow but intense pacing are all top notch. And the only reason I think this movie doesn’t have a higher score over on other review sites is not enough people have seen it. I myself almost passed it over. Boy am I glad I didn’t! The Dark and The Wicked is a horror movie that doesn’t pull punches, especially when those punches are aimed squarely at your fear receptors.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!