Monday, November 2, 2020

The Dark and the Wicked Review: An Atmospheric Dread-Filled Horror Film

Marin Ireland	...	Louise Michael Abbott Jr.	Michael Abbott Jr.	...	Michael Xander Berkeley	Xander Berkeley	...	Priest Lynn Andrews	Lynn Andrews	...	Nurse Julie Oliver-Touchstone	Julie Oliver-Touchstone	...	Mother Tom Nowicki	Tom Nowicki	...	Charlie Ella Ballentine	Ella Ballentine	...	Young Girl Mel Cowan	Mel Cowan	...	Doctor Mindy Raymond	Mindy Raymond	...	Becky Chris Doubek	Chris Doubek	...	Funeral Director Michael Zagst	Michael Zagst	...	Father

Release date: November 6, 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Marin Ireland ("The Umbrella Academy," Hell or High Water), Michael Abbott Jr. (Loving, Mud) and Xander Berkeley ("The Walking Dead”)
Written and directed by: Bryan Bertino (The Strangers, The Monster, Mockingbird)

On a secluded farm, a man is slowly dying. Bedridden and fighting through his final breaths, his wife is slowly succumbing to overwhelming grief. To help their mother and say goodbye to their father, siblings Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) return to their family farm. It doesn’t take long for them to see that something’s wrong with mom, though—something more than her heavy sorrow. Gradually, as their own grief mounts, Louise and Michael begin suffering from a darkness similar to their mother’s, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over their family. 

The Dark and the Wicked is a movie filled with tension and suspense.  The entire time that you spend with Louise, Michael, and their elderly family, you are on edge wondering what will happen next.  The setting helps this by being set on a beautiful, secluded farm that lends a sense of isolation to this movie.  The film does a great job with the camera work, making it so you catch hints of something here and there.  You catch brief glimpses of what is happening, causing you to hold your breath as you wait for the surprise or scare you know is coming.  And this intensity is amplified by the atmospheric music.  Cello, violins, other classical strings play to raise the suspense as you wait for the inevitable.  

Bryan Bertino	...	producer Adrienne Biddle	...	producer Carissa Buffel	...	executive producer Milan Chakraborty	...	executive producer Bruce Cummings	...	executive producer Brian Dalton	...	executive producer Thomas Giamboi	...	executive producer Sonny Mallhi	...	producer Kevin Matusow	...	producer Steven Chester Prince	...	executive producer Mike Scannell	...	executive producer James Short	...	executive producer John Short	...	executive producer Jeff Stevens	...	executive producer  Directed by  Bryan Bertino
And when this actually does happen, the film jolts you with some intense scenarios and brutal scenes.  The Dark and the Wicked forgoes most CG and leans on practical effects for the gore.  It lends a visceral, brutal element to some of the scenes, and makes sure that you remain horrified but that it does not break you immersion.  And the characters in this film feel fleshed out and are well acted, highlighted by an amazing performance by Marin Ireland.  Ireland is forced to deal with a lot and she does so convincingly as a loyal daughter who is overwhelmed by what is going on around her.  The film has some really subtle character development that builds these characters into fully fleshed out and unpredictable individuals.  

However, although the Dark and the Wicked does a great job building a dread-filled, tense horror landscape, the composition of this film hurts it overall.  First off, the film does a great job of keeping you on edge but loses something by not filling in much backstory.  I feel like I didn't know anything about the family or any of the happy times that they had.  The film just thrusts you into this terrible situation without much background about their overall predicament.  And the film is definitely tense and dread-filled, but that causes the film to follow a predictable pattern.  It seems like each scene follows the trend of relatively normal start, something odd happens, something really crazy happens, reset.  It still leads to jump scares, but also leads to a feeling that the film is one repeating roller coaster.  Now don't get me wrong, this is a phenomenally done roller coaster that evokes a wonderful sense of dread, I just wish there was some more variety in how the story was told.  

The Dark and the Wicked will keep you on edge with it's palatable sense of tension, dread-filled atmospheric horror, amazing gore and effects, and wonderfully nuanced characters in a terrible predicament. 

Watch it.

Horror Atmosphere Atmospheric Tension Family Drama Death Movie Movies Theaters Digital On Demand
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RLJE Films will release the horror film THE DARK AND THE WICKED In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand November 6, 2020.

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