The Wretched is a thrilling ride with a cannibalistic witch in the driver’s seat

John-Paul Howard as “Ben” in Brett and Drew Pierce’s THE WRETCHED. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight Release.
John-Paul Howard as “Ben” in Brett and Drew Pierce’s THE WRETCHED. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight Release. /

IFC’s newest movie, The Wretched, isn’t afraid to throw out the scares in this environmental horror flick starring a cannibalistic witch.

The Wretched, Brett and Drew T. Pierce’s newest film, is laced with eerie visuals, teenage drama, unexpected plot twists and a pretty phenomenal soundtrack; the perfect ingredients for a fun horror flick. The film introduces us to Ben, a 17-year old who’s been sent to live with his father after getting into some trouble. What’s expected to be a boring summer drastically changes when Ben heads off with his vacationing neighbor that’s been possessed by a witch.

Right off the bat, I was enthralled by the simple, yet effective, opening sequence:  rain coming down, while the camera pans across children’s toys. The Wretched quickly sets the atmosphere for what’s to come and instantly, I’m glued to my seat. This aesthetic continues throughout the film’s runtime, leaving me more than impressed by the visuals.

The Wretched is not lacking in terms of effects. From flowers wilting in the matter of seconds and photographs discovered with scratched out faces; some of the eerie visuals may rest in the background, but still lend a hand at providing the viewers with chills. When the production isn’t focused on being subtle, it turns the wheel in the opposite direction and finds ways to make the audience uncomfortable. With a cannibalistic witch sitting in the front seat, it can only be assumed that there’d be gruesome and gore-filled scenes sprinkled throughout the film.

While The Wretched isn’t necessarily a deep film; there’s not much more than what sits at the surface. However, this environmental horror flick still tells an entertaining tale that will have you rooting for the protagonist, Ben. Scenes don’t drag and this movie makes every minute of its runtime count.

the wretched
Azie Tesfai as “Sara” in Brett and Drew Pierce’s THE WRETCHED. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight Release. /

Even though I mostly enjoyed The Wretched, I do feel that the sub-plot could have been either left out or more developed. While living with his father, Ben works at the local marina where he has to deal with a group of rich kids. It’s made evident right off the bat that Ben is attracted to one of the girls in this group, however a prank is later pulled and this group is barely shown again. It felt entirely pointless in terms of plot and character development.

Other characters are likeable, such as the scene-stealing Mallory (played by Piper Curda). Mallory adds a dash of humor to the film, along with giving Ben someone to aid in his journey. What is a dark film is given a bit of light by this character’s presence.

In the third act, the audience is given an unexpected plot twist. One that is explained after and will give you an “a-ha!” moment. The Wretched continues to pull punches through the ending scene, until the film closes and we’re given a possible open for a sequel.

The Wretched is a film that’s easy for me to recommend to both horror fanatics and casual viewers. From the appealing visuals to the attention-grabbing plot, it is a movie to check out.

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IFC’s The Wretched is out now and can be watched on VOD!

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