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  • Writer's pictureKelly M. Hudson

Wretched Witchy Horrors!

Ben (John-Paul Howard) is a troubled teen who had an incident after breaking into a neighbor’s house to steal some drugs, so now he’s been shipped off for the summer to be with his estranged father. He isn’t upset by this because he loves his father and misses him because he hardly sees him after the divorce. Right away, his dad puts him to work at the docks and Ben meets the local hot girls and the summer rental neighbors that live next door. Then something funny happens after a trip into the woods by the married neighbor wife; she brings home a deer carcass and inside it resides something…different. Turns out, she gets possessed by a witch that lives beneath a wicked tree in the nearby woods. And this witch, she is malevolent. Ben discovers who she is and must stop her, because she is making local children disappear. And not only that, but with their disappearance comes a forgetting of the children by everyone in the community. When Ben protests to his father, his dad doesn’t know what Ben is talking about because to him and everyone else, the missing children never existed. Slowly, the witch is drawing the circle of death closer and closer to Ben and nobody believes him…

The Wretched (streaming on Hulu) is a damned good horror movie and well-worth some attention and praise. First off, the story is fairly unique and has an understated Fairy Tale quality about it. Mix that in with teen angst, some Rear Window storytelling techniques, a bit of the old blood and guts and creepy crawlies, and you have a winning formula for a very scary little film. No, it’s not a masterclass in terror, but it does a damned good job of ratcheting up the tension and staying original. It’s hard to guess where the narrative is going and when it takes that final twist and turn at the end, you’ll find yourself just as pleasantly surprised as I was. Sure, it takes a bit to get going, but once it does, kiss paying attention to anything else but the screen behind. This is a great example of taking a number of tired tropes and weaving them into a new, spellbinding narrative. Kudos to filmmakers Brett and Drew T. Pierce for pulling this off.

You want a fright film that plays familiar but twists the knife right when you least expect it? You want a modern possession/fairy tale that is mean and creepy and horrifying? You like stories where the world is warping and changing and only one person sees it, and nobody believes him? This is the one for you, then. Not a game-changer, but a solid and thrilling little number that makes you dance like you got ants in your pants. Check it out!


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