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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Director: Bryan Bertino

Screenplay: Bryan Bertino

Year: 2020

In a rural town in the southern United States, a man is slowly getting closer to dying. After noticing the man’s imminent demise, his family reunites in his house to care for him. Once there, the family realizes that his death is not their biggest concern, as the house seems to be inhabited by something wicked.

“The Dark and the Wicked”  is the director and writer Bryan Bertino’s latest work, known because of his impressive debut film “The Strangers”, one of the most recognized home invasion horror movies. This new full-length feature from Bertino almost went under my radar, as it has not made much noise in the horror world. This time, he retakes the home invasion topic, but with a supernatural twist (yes, I had to make that association).

“The Dark and the Wicked” mainly develops as a slow-burn horror movie, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like one. To explain myself better, this movie uses well its atmosphere and slower parts to build tension, but it doesn’t wait until near the end to present the jump scares and the gore, as it usually happens with slow-burn films. Actually, to a certain extent, this can be considered one of its problems.

Although many of us will be grateful for jump scares and gore to be presented from early on, in this movie, it doesn’t feel like they have a gradual increase as it goes. Once it shows the first horror moments, all the rest fall in the same line. This makes the horror feel constricted, especially in the final stretch, but the intertwined plot is interesting enough to overcome this.

Not only is the plot interesting, but excellent work is done on the technical aspect. The acting is great, besides some parts of the unconvincing southern accent, as well as the cinematography and background music. The horror scenes are also well done, propelled by the special effects and makeup that help present the horrific visuals. 

.“The Dark and the Wicked” almost goes under my radar, and it would have been a shame because, even when it has some issues, it is a great horror movie. It makes the most out of the atmosphere, like slow-burns, but it doesn’t save its surprises for the end and reveals them slowly through its runtime. Its main problem is that the horror is not gradually developed, and after a few scenes are presented, it starts to feel shy.

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