Directed by Brett and Drew T. Pierce, IFC Films’ independent supernatural horror flick, The Wretched follows Ben (John-Paul Howard), a broody and defiant teenager. Sporting a blue cast on his arm after some reckless misadventure, Ben travels down to the coast to spend some time with his father Liam (Jamison Jones) amidst his parents’ less than amicable divorce.
Things quickly turn on their head for Ben when his new neighbours begin to possess some peculiar and otherworldly-like qualities. Curiosity quickly gets the better of him and after some careful investigation, Ben discovers that he is living next-door to a malevolent witch that has bound itself to a human host.
With its teenage protagonist and mythical storyline, The Wretched feels very much like a throwback to cult 80s teen horror films such as The Evil Dead and Friday the 13th. Much like the supernatural horror films of that period, this film does not rely on a heart-stopping jump scares-but rather relies heavily on visuals, makeup and practical effects to deliver its scares. Particularly when the witch contorts her grotesque and garish frame, leading to a lot of unpleasant snapping and cracking sounds which are reminiscent of tree branches breaking.
The Wretched’s creepy factor is really turned up a notch by Devin Burrows’ loud, eerie and suspenseful musical score which compliments Connor Murphy’s dark and gritty cinematography perfectly.
A lot of the visuals in The Wretched are also reminiscent of imagery that has become synonymous with satanic folklore in other supernatural horror films such as The Blair Witch Project and Drag Me To Hell– they almost feel like a tribute to those films.
With a great cast of relatively unknown actors and a climactic finish, The Wretched delivers a fresh new take on the supernatural horror genre, providing many nail-biting scares along the way.
However, with its short 95 minute running time and somewhat rushed ending, this film is likely to leave the audience wanting more and many questions left unanswered.
The Wretched is currently screening at cinemas, and will be available to Rent on Demand from September 2nd .