The Wretched: Naughty Neighbors

The Wretched is a horror film directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce. The plot sees troubled teen Ben (John Paul Howard), go and stay with his Dad (Jamison Jones), in a quiet seaside town. However, as they often do, things start to go awry, and Ben soon discovers that there’s a witch preying on the town’s children and the two set out to destroy each other.

Something I thought whilst watching this is that it has a very Goosebumps vibe to it, yes admittedly it is much scarier than your standard episode, but there was just something about this teen solving mysteries and defeating evil, with none of the adults believing him that gave me that impression. That is by no means a bad thing.

I thought the look of the Witch was good and scary, especially when she is shown in a less human form. The practical creature design is very effective, and they do a lot with facial acting and physicality.

I thought this film has several tense sequences that kept me on edge throughout. There were one or two good scares that felt like they had been built towards rather than achieved through a cheap jump scare, which is something I will always applaud. That said some of the scares fall flat or didn’t work.

My one issue with this film is the twist reveal that main protagonist Ben has had a brother this whole time that the Witch had made him forget about. My problem with this is that it feels redundant, it serves no narrative purpose to do this as we have already been shown at this point that the Witch can make people forgettable about their child relatives. Also the argument of this being done to give Ben more of a personal motivation also doesn’t work as he already has plenty of skin in the game by the time this reveal is made.

Overall, a very well-done horror film, that borders slightly on the teen horror side of things at times. If they had not done that dumb twist I would probably have given it full marks, alas they did.

Pros.

The facial acting and physicality

Building its scares rather than using jump scares

The Goosebumps feel

It has some good scares

Cons.

The needless twist.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

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