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The Wretched - Film Review

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Published June 24th 2020
A malevolent spirit from the woods plays a sinister game
the wretched film review 2020, community event, fun things to do, cinema, movie buff, horror movie, performing arts, entertainment, john paul howard, piper curda, jamieson jones, azie tesfai, zarah mahler, kevin bigley, gabriela quezada bloomgarden, blane crockarell, richard ellis
Images © Cailleach Productions, Gusto Entertainment

Screening now until 18 July in Foxtel Store
In Cinemas 25 June onwards
Available to rent On Demand from 2 September via Google Play, Fetch TV, Microsoft & Apple TV
Running Time: 95 Mins - Rating: MA 15 plus

Dealing with his parent's imminent divorce, Ben goes to live with his father for the summer. He works at the local marina, dealing with the local privileged teens and his father's new girlfriend. His problems only grow when he becomes suspicious of the goings-on of the family next door. There's something disturbing that he can't quite put his finger on, and he launches a perilous crusade to get to the bottom of it.

He makes a chilling discovery but trying to convince anyone of the supernatural horrors go unheeded. The malevolent spirit's reign of terror continues as it starts playing a sinister game of taking over and playing house.

Not a fan of horror films, it took a bit of nerve to start watching this film. However, my fear was unfounded in the sense that once you are exposed to the horror early in the film, and you know what it looks like, you are no longer afraid. That's how it works for me anyway and I settled down, removed the pillow I had on the ready to hide behind, and started to watch The Wretched.

It's a little bit Disturbia as Ben spies on his neighbours, and a little bit folklore; a dark fairy tale for the modern age. It draws on all your imagined fears as a kid of the dark eerie woods as you camped, with a scary wretch crawling around your imagination, waiting to pounce and eat a family or two, or drag you away into the dark.

A bit of a mashup of horror and teen adventure, it is saved by some of the unexpected clever twists and recollections written into the script. I give it that at least. Performances are digestible but not even the teen hero stands out as the lead, as his character has not been singled out or developed enough with a strength that cuts through the rest of the characters. There's a lack of psychological depth and emotional complexity to call it a modern horror fairy tale, as it nostalgically pays homage to iconic mashups of horror tales of the past, including some bone-crunching transformations.

This tale of a thousand-year-old witch that wipes memories and lives beneath the skin of others, preying on little children doesn't quite live up to its hype of the horror genre. It's just not disgusting or gross enough to drive you screaming from the cinema, nor is there anything you haven't seen that it deserves high praise. Having said that, it's not unwatchable, nor does it fall into the B grade category. Just don't expect too much from it.

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