Fantasia 2019: The Wretched [Review]
The Fantasia International Film Festival will always have some fun, surprising and/or crazy films for their passionate moviegoers to look forward to, no matter what. Arguably known as one of the biggest and most influential genre film festivals in North America, it’s no wonder that filmmakers will want to submit their projects to this event and see their movies on the big screen with a large crowd! The Wretched is one of those flicks. After its world premiere at the festival, it has become one of the best horror films that an audience can have a great time with! Directors Brett and Drew Pierce bring something fun yet fresh to the horror genre. In a world where horror films have become a little dull lately, the Pierce brothers certainly have what it takes to showcase some well-executed creepiness for the audience to be invested in.
The Wretched revolves around a 17-year-old teenager named Ben (John-Paul Howard) who is dealing with stress involving his parents’ divorce. He decides to stay with his father for the summer, hopefully as a way to clear his mind, but he eventually finds out that something weird has been going on in their small town. There’s an evil witch who has taken the form of their neighbour next door, and Ben now has to stop her before she haunts the rest of the town — even if no one will believe him. It sounds like a rather simple premise, but the work of the cast and crew really elevates the film as a whole.
First of all, John-Paul Howard is absolutely great in the lead role of Ben. When you see him for the first time, you understand the struggle that he’s going through as a person. He carries the movie from start to finish, and you also appreciate the fact that he’s not playing one of those clichéd teenagers that you have seen so many times before in bad horror flicks. His relationship with his father is one of the most interesting aspects of the film. The rest of the cast is also really good, especially Zarah Mahler, who is able to grab your attention whenever she’s on screen.
As you’re watching the movie, you can clearly tell the directors are passionate horror fans. Just the intro alone immediately lets you know what type of film you’re about to see. The cinematography is beautifully executed, which adds a lot to the creepy vibe that the filmmakers have set up so well for the audience to be immersed in. There are a lot of impressive camera movements showcasing the witch’s evil presence and her desire to terrorize the town. Even the musical score, composed by Devin Burrows, is quite excellent!
The Wretched is truly a movie for the Fantasia audience as it’s a fun yet suspenseful film that is made for fans of this particular genre. You can’t help but praise the ambition that the Pierce brothers have worked so hard to accomplish. With a cool premise, great acting, impressive cinematography, and a mesmerizing score, this is a horror flick you should most definitely check out!
The Wretched screened as part of this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.