It’s weird how memory operates. This notion is explored in the new horror pic The Wretched from writer-director duo Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce.  In it, 17-year old Ben (John-Paul Howard) arrives at his father’s place for the summer after some trouble back home only to run afoul of a nasty witch with the ability to play with the recall of specific people in order to eat them without anyone ever noticing. The clever movie indulges with a creeper of a story and a healthy dose of gore to deliver a wickedly good time.

Things seem normal at first, as they always do in a good horror flick. Ben meets the neighbors next door and gets a job working for his dad Liam (Jamison Jones) at the nearby lake. Tending to the busy dock Ben meets Mallory (Piper Curda), another teen employee, and the two have an immediate spark. Then one night, Ben comes home from work only to find the young boy from next door attempting to hide from his mom. Odd to be sure, but stranger still is that when Ben goes to check on him the next day, the neighbors deny ever having a kid. Ben suspects something is up and begins spying. Further digging leads him to discover a far more dangerous explanation than amnesia.

I have to say that The Wretched entertained the hell out of me. Howard is a solid lead as the troubled but still totally unsure Ben. The casting was crucial on this particular part and they really got this one right as Howard hits the right mix of naivete and bravado any troubled teen would have. I would also give credit to the Pierces for their script. As Ben and his romantic interest unravel what might be going on I was frankly pulled in. along the way we get homages to Rear Window, The Hole in the Ground, Ringu, and some Night of the living Dead-style gore. You really can’t complain about gleeful amounts of gore and creepy kills. The effects are practical, goopy, slurpy, and downright gross. Bianca Appice and her make up effects team really do some incredible work with what I can only assume was a modestly budgeted project.

No, the film is not perfect. It is rare to find one that is. I could pick off the minor quibbles or questions I had, mainly to do with how the creature and her magic works but it can easily be dismissed as just that. Then there’s the title. Still not sure how that works into things other than what we see is, at times, wretched. Really though, these are relatively minor misgivings for a film that is so much fun. The Wretched is a fun creature-feature that moves fast and leaves the viewer with a pleasant sense of unease.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

 

The Wretched
RATING: UR
Runtime: 1 hr 35 Mins.
Directed By:
Written By: