When I first saw the preview for The Wretched and we talked about it on the podcast both Sickle and I got extremely excited. We like witch movies as much as the next demon/serial killer but this one seemed special. The witch in The Wretched (directed by The Pierce Brothers) has way more of a feral feel and has the potential to make for an interesting new twist on the genre. When we saw it was playing at Telluride Horror Show I knew I needed to see it. I will just say this now to get it out of the way...this was my favorite film of the festival.
The Wretched has us following a young boy name Ben whose parents are going through a divorce. Ben is staying and working with his dad for the summer and that is where we get into the action. In a very Rear Window-esque fashion Ben starts creepily watching their neighbor house after he sees something crazy on their front porch. The movie escalates and with no one believing Ben he starts to take matters into his own hands, but the witch doesn’t just lie down and take it.
This movie was incredibly reminiscent of Fright Night, which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. We see a young boy who has to grow through dealing with the supernatural that is threatening his family. Another reason this movie gets high marks is that all the effects were practical. There is an awesome scene where they have the witch burst out through a woman’s body…All real. Finally we see a great glimpse into some awesome witch lore. The director said in the Q&A afterward that they combined a bunch of awesome witch lore including skin changing, effigy worship and nature to get their final result and whoa does it work. This is a fantastic movie, go see it asap.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 10/10
Horror Quality: 9/10
Film Quality: 9/10
Survival horror is generally not my forte. So Sweetheart was something I went into with bit of apprehension, especially since it is quite literally a deserted island survival movie. But Sweetheart, directed by JD Dillard, is different. The main difference between this movie and others of the genre is that this one has a wonderful monster, and they don’t waste any time showing you what it looks like.
We start off in the middle of the story with Jennifer, who is stranded on a mysterious island for an unknown reason. She watches a man die and then has to fend for herself. Unfortunately, at night she isn’t alone on the island anymore. Throughout the film we see Jennifer presents with more and more challenging scenarios and get to watch her interesting take on how to overcome them.
For an 86 min long feature film you don’t have much time to get things going, and Sweetheart doesn’t waste any time at all. Within the first 30 min we get the first glimpse of the monster and this alone keeps me in the movie. The survival stuff about being on a remote island is only marginally entertaining, but it is punctuated so well with the other more interesting aspects I have trouble holding it against the movie. Also the final confrontation is freaking epic and worth any other issues you have in the film.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 6/10
This is yet another film I have been excited for since I saw the trailer long ago, despite the trailer not really give you a great idea of what hell is going on. Despite this confusion, the potential culty nature of it is really what drew me in. Yet again, THS delivers and decided to show it on Sunday! Lucky me ☺
It is hard to talk a lot about the plot of this movie without spoiling much but I will do my best. After their mother commits suicide Mia and Aiden have to deal with their father's new fiancé, Grace. Enter problem one, she is the sole survivor of a suicide cult when she was a kid. They kind of blame her for their mother’s death but are forced to get to know her on a camping weekend in the mountains. Enter problem two, the dad for some inexplicable reason decided it would be okay to leave his kids with his new fiancé/ex cultist in the middle of a blizzard. After that strange occurrences start happening around the house, everyone starts to get uncomfortable and the insanity and intensity starts.
The set up for The Lodge was pretty fickle but the intensity after it got going had me quite literally on the edge of my seat. Watching this movie was intense to say the least but not nearly as culty as I would have liked. We don’t get to dive very deeply into that aspect of Grace’s life except for through her cabin fever/lack of medication haze. Which left me just wanting more from the film then it was able to deliver. I will say the end is great and the twist is pretty awesome, so it is worth watching at least once.