• Mike Holtz

Out Today: 'The Strangers' Director Bryan Bertino's THE DARK AND THE WICKED is Just That

One wonders if it weren't for the pandemic that 'The Dark and the Wicked' would be a hit Friday night horror flick in theaters nationwide. It should have been. It should have sparked the same kind of word of mouth 'The Conjuring' did so many years ago. There's an A24 production style to this film about family and demons but also enough dynamic sequences for it to be accepted by a more general audience.

In 'The Strangers' director Bryan Bertino's latest film a family that hasn't stayed very close over the years is brought together by their father nearing his death bed. The mother starts to act strange (if you call cutting your fingers into tiny carrot slices strange) and it's not long before they realize that something sinister and unseen is coming for all of them.

The country farmhouse setting, fantastic acting and willingness by Bertino to deliver scares instead of fake outs, 'The Dark and the Wicked' is no doubt a horror crowd pleaser. It's creepy. Full of atmosphere and awful imagery. It's a fun to watch in the dark with friends and the sound cranked up type of horror film but also has something to say about how easily we grow apart from our original families and the damage it can cause those left behind.

The only knock I have being that while the scares were well done and plentiful, there wasn't a lot of originality. We've seen a lot of these scares before as recently as 'Hereditary' or 'The Witch' and I think as good as it was; 'The Dark and the Wicked' missed a bit of an opportunity to really leave its mark with some shocking new material in that aspect. Still yet, I absolutely recommend renting and watching this one tonight for a spooky good time.


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