A teenage boy named Ben (John-Paul Howard) is currently dealing with his parents going through a divorce. He ends up moving in with his father in a small-town community. His father is dating someone else whom Ben is not overly fond of. Ben daily goes to work with his father at the boat docks. There he works in the office, assisting with boats coming in/out and conducting safety checks.
As Ben tries to settle into the small community and living with his father, Ben begins to have suspicions about the family next door. Over time, his suspicions only grow more and more. But little does Ben know that one of the family members next door has been taken over by a thousand-year-old witch who now lives beneath the skin of a human. As Ben sees more odd things occur he tries to tell others, but no one will believe him and think he’s just on drugs. It is now up to Ben to take matters into his own hands.
Visual effects for this film are impressive. Movie lovers who are seeking extreme amounts of gore and uncomfortable horror aspects should look no further. I will proudly confess that this movie (and the film’s poster art) was able to make me feel slightly squeamish, and it’s great to see this film isn’t holding back. The filmmakers were obviously keen to make this film look as fantastic as possible considering the film’s budget, particularly when it comes to elements like blood and gore. The main Witch herself when she appears is also quite creepy, and the work in the effects department has paid off once again. All night shots in the film were also visually positive.
Another plus for me is what hit my ears from the beginning of this film. Naturally, I am talking about the film’s soundtrack- it’s impressive. It gave off old school horror flick vibes. The soundtrack was generally fun and fresh. As a plot, The Wretched does start a little slow, but when Ben begins to suspect something is wrong, the film gets underway. While visual effects and the soundtrack are stunning, some performances can be questionable, but this could also be due to the film’s budget. I’m generally not one to point out the performance from a child or teenage actor, but this was impossible to ignore. Lines of dialogue can sometimes come across as bland even during what should be tense moments.
Overall, The Wretched is a positive low budget horror. It gets a lot of things right, and many moments feel fresh. Elements such as the visuals and the audio track were outstanding. It’s unfortunate to see some of the performances and the slow start regarding the plot. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive horror film, and those seeking new chills and thrills should support this film.
The Wretched (2019) is now show in Australian Cinemas from 25th June 2020
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Review Written by Peter Walkden