The Dark and the Wicked (2020) RLJ Entertainment 12/15/2020
Directed By: Bryan Bertino
Starring: Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr, Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Lynn Andrews Michael Zagst
Disclaimer: RLJE has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Marin Ireland (The Umbrella Academy) and Michael Abbott Jr (Loving) head up a stellar cast. Both leads feel like real people thrown into some incredibly messed up events. It helps that the dialogue sounds very natural and organic. I did have to put on subtitles though. The film is great but I still felt like it had some issues. My main complaint is that the gorier elements towards the end tend to undercut the subtler aspects of the horror. And, you know, I don't have an issue with gore but, some of these scenes come off more silly. Also, the scene with dad doing a fast-mo. boo-type-scare is a prime example of when sometimes less really is more. In general I think the plot could have used some tightening. For example, while the icy detached worldview works in the films favor, I think that the movie could have used a stronger emotional center. I kept waiting for some flash-backs on just why the kids became estranged with their family. Or just anything to get to know these characters a little better. I totally understand and even respect keeping a lot of things a mystery but I think in this case it would have made some elements a bit stronger.
The Dark and the Wicked is a film that only proves that Bryan Bertino is such an interesting voice in horror. No, I dont think it's the scariest film ever made but, it is, in my opinion well worth watching. Grim horror that crawls under your skin.
Picture: The Dark and the Wicked is, I think in part really successful thanks to its great visual design. This 1080p really showcases that here. Colors are well maintained throughout and small details really pop in HD.
Sound: The Dark and the Wicked has a really nice DTS 5.1 track. Dialogue comes through nicely. The robust sound in my opinion enhances the eerie sound design.
Extras: The extras include a Fantasia Q&A with actors Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. (36 mins)