As a writer, reviewer and overall lover of film in a time when we aren’t getting to see a lot of new releases, I am appreciative of The Fantasia International Film Festival. This year, they made their whole library digital, and I am forever grateful. The world right now is full of real life horrors. I prefer mine to be fictional and on the screen. I watched a lot of great films for this fest. However, one was downright terrifying. Let me tell you a little bit about The Dark And The Wicked!
Official synopsis of The Dark and the Wicked:
On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.
I was already excited to screen this film based on the premise alone. Then, I noticed that Bryan Bertino wrote and directed it. I was elated! If you don’t already recognize his name, you should. He wrote one of the scariest films of all time. You might have heard of it … The Strangers (2008). Knowing that, I could not wait to hit that play button. Would The Dark And The Wicked live up to my expectations? I can tell you this: Bryan Bertino knows how to send shivers up in down your spine.
The Dark And The Wicked is, by far, the creepiest film of the year. It just does not let up. Just when you think it’s safe to breathe, the next scene makes you gasp for air. This film like The Strangers, where it puts you back in an isolated place of fear … only this time, it’s even more inescapable. No place is safe.
The use of the property in the movie is unmatched. The filmmakers utilize every inch, from the farm to the kitchen to the bedroom to the bathroom. Each place is scarier then the last. You have no idea how much anxiety and fright these scenes will provoke! I won’t go into spoilers, but being someone who has had sleep paralysis, the bedroom scene creeped me out to my core.
The acting is top notch as well. Louise (Marin Ireland: Hell or Highwater 2016) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr: Mud 2012) lead the film in such a progressive way that you honestly don’t even see the twists, turns, spooks, and scares coming at you. The despair both are going through is conveyed with every look of emotion and every line of dialogue. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sheer terror that Julie Oliver-Touchstone (The Preacher TV series) and Michael Zagst (Divine Access 2015) bring to the screen as Mother and Father! Both have scenes with imagery that has been stuck in my head since I have watched the film.
I genuinely believe this is the creepiest film of 2020. It hits the fear in all the right places. I don’t feel it is deserving of a What Doesn’t Work segment like I usually do in my reviews, because it was so damn well done, with its menacing score, brilliant cinematography, good pacing, and scares that are jam packed right in there. The film has one scene that might literally break your heart. I absolutely recommend checking out this film that is true to its title: The Dark And The Wicked!