The Dark and the Wicked was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival back in April 2020 and now it's arriving exclusively on Shudder. The film takes place on a secluded farm where siblings Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbot Jr) return home to help their bedridden father. However, a darkness begins to grow among them and starts taking over the family. It's clear that there is something seriously wrong with Louise and Michael's mother that's far greater than her deep sorrow. Michael and Louise soon become the subjects of nightmares and an evil entity trying to take over their family and they must put a stop to it.
The Dark and the Wicked is one of those horrors that's a slow burn. It certainly takes a while to really get into it. As the film progresses and more haunting events start occurring to our main characters, the stakes slowly start rising and you start to feel a greater sense of urgency. But as is the case with this sort of film, you do have to sit through the slow moments, in order for the ending to get its payoff. And the film did feel very slow. Despite being just 95 minutes, The Dark and the Wicked felt much longer as it didn't quite hit the mark the whole time.
One area where The Dark and the Wicked feels particularly weak is the lack of terror that you expect from a slow burn horror film like this. There are certain scenes that certainly get your heart racing – in particular, one involving cutting some carrots- but other than a few scenes, the film as a whole never really creates a sense of dread within the viewer. Whilst there were a decent number of scenes that, by themselves, were tense, The Dark and the Wicked just didn't have a whole lot in the way of an overarching feeling of terror to keep you on edge for the entire runtime.
The Dark and the Wicked definitely isn't a bad film and fans of the genre will enjoy it but it just doesn't bring anything new and there's nothing groundbreaking here.
Dir. Bryan Bertino
Scr. Bryan Bertino
Cast. Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr, Julie Oliver-Touchstone
Prd. Bryan Bertino, Adrienne Biddle, Sonny Mallhi, Kevin Matusow
DOP. Tristan Nyby
Music. Tom Schraeder
Runtime: 95 minutes
The Dark and the Wicked premieres on Shudder on February 25.