The Wretched (2020) – Review

The Wretched is the generic monster movie that you probably never heard about because it is so disappointing.

The movie starts off the same as all these movies tend to, a dark and stormy night 30 years ago. Pop music thunders over a yard littered with children toys suggesting shit is about to go down. One of my biggest issues with this film is the amount of filler it has, and this is opening is shameless filler. Clearly, they didn’t have enough of a story to make a movie, so now you get pointless scenes that add little to the plot. There is no context to the monster’s motivation. The people lured and killed in this movie are not related to the present-day victims. In fact, this event is never mentioned again in the movie, suggesting it’s role as padding. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it was used as a way to introduce the monster, it’s powers, where it came from, why it was killing, how it infiltrated the house. Simple clues to help build the world and the monster instead of going for a scene you have come all too familiar with at this point.

The real story takes place in modern day in a lake town where a troubled teen, Ben, spends his day working at the local marina for his dad and spying on his neighbors. A huge part of his character is spying on people. All seems normal until one night he hears something walking on his roof. He instantly knows that there is something amiss. It is here when he makes it his life’s mission to hunt down this witch because the plot asks for it. He goes straight into witch hunter mode without having any definitive proof. The rest of the movie is bits of Ben hunting down the witch and filler.

I will say it again, this movie is mostly filler. There is a pointless forced romance, a bully plot that gets forgotten, something about mind control, and the most boring party you will ever go to. They try so hard to make Ben a real person that they forget that it is a monster movie. At the marina he works with the love interest of the movie whose only character trait is that she is smitten by Ben because of reasons. I don’t know why horror feel the need to force a relationship in these movies. I for one came to this movie expecting monsters, not lazy awkward flirting between two teens. The writing in this movie isn’t great so a lot of the dialogue is awkward, as if written by aliens so when these teens flirt, it is boring and uncomfortable. They could have taken this plot out of the movie and it wouldn’t matter, that is how little value it has on the movie.

Of course a horror movie of this genre wouldn’t be complete without a party, and this party is incredibly boring. They should have had more energetic people, or people who have actually been to a party. People stand around and play drinking games as they try to push forth to the next plot point, the bully plot everyone forgot about. I don’t know why there is a bully plot in this movie. I don’t know why they added a lot of this movie, maybe it was a way to connect with teens. This is what teens do right? Sit around, drink, and be assholes for no reason. This movie tries to do too much, and a as a result it achieves little what it does.

It is a real shame because what it does well, it does really well. The few scenes that have the witch in it are terrifying. Not because of jump scares, there are a few of those, but because of how gross it is. The sounds she makes, the vile dripping from her body, and how she moves all show the truly wasted potential of this movie. Had they focused on developing the witch, having her chase the protagonist and the other teens with her vile decomposing body, this would have been a better movie. Unfortunately, they abandon this early on and give the witch the most inconsistent rule set I have ever seen.

The issue with magic in movies is the balance that is forced on its user. Usually this is when magic works for some people and not for others. This witch has a whole lot of useless powers that only make her less threatening. She can control minds, but only of those adult men that are legal age who she has whispered to. She can take over other people’s bodies, communicate fluently in English, but only women that she has killed. And these bodies have varying time limits to them as they rot over her real body. This is where the movie loses traction because it isn’t scary to watch a human woman chase hunting children when you have seen her true more terrifying form. I wish they had made it a monster movie. It would have made more sense to have a blood thirsty monster hunting its way through the community instead of a witch who has evolved to have the most inconvenient hunting abilities you will ever see in a movie. They are successful in making the most terrifying driving force of this movie and make it boring.

This is definitely a movie you skip because it does too much wrong. It doesn’t follow up on plot points it works hard to suggest are important. What it does well is left forgotten equally forgotten. If you like making fun of bad movies, you might be able to pull some material out of this one. But if you are looking for a thrilling scary movie,  look elsewhere. Sorry this was a long one, but there was so much to say about this movie.

 

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