Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Wicked (2013)

I have seen many a bad film in my lifetime being a horror fan. Sure, every genre has its fair share of the spread of the shit but horror is the biggest dumping ground for below par filmmaking. Everything from ultra-low budget B movie cheesy trash, safe watered down for the masses mainstream fare with a PG-13 certificate slapped on it, misconceived remakes, terminally ill straight to home video clunkers etc. I have wasted much viewing time having watched a God-awful amount of genre celluloid abortions over the last twenty-three years. I became a hardcore horrorhead at the tender age of 11 from having seen Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984) and John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ (1978) respectively. From then on despite having discovered many other great horror movies such as these, I have had to sit through a helluva a lot of dross more so than any other of my favourite genres.

This year’s ‘The Wicked’ falls into that latter dreaded DTV category there. This film is a complete waste of time and depressing when taking into account its budget of an estimated $800,000 as this money could have funded a more innovative piece of work bursting with creative energy. Instead, what we have here is just a tired by the numbers urban legend kids go into the haunted house in the woods premise with no original twists and turns adding nothing new to the formula whatsoever.

"Season of the Equinox, the witch besets her kill. One less soul in the town to know, taken against their will." This is the folklore tale of the town of Summerset passed down from each generation to the next. Regarded by the townsfolk as just a silly bedtime story to frighten the kids it relates an immortal witch the movie’s title character “The Wicked”. She takes the town’s children to eat them to stay young and breaking one of the windows of her old house will unleash her evil. The local legend turns out to be true when little Amanda Drake is taken from her mother when the girl is alone in bed snatched from her bedroom window after throwing a stone through a window of the witch’s house. Rumours start to go around town that the witch has returned and a group of teenagers have the bright idea to go searching for her old house out in the woods and break a few windows… big mistake.

The opening sequence depicting the taking of little Amanda is competently executed and then the rest of the first act is used to set-up the group of friends’ journey into the woods, to flesh out the characterization of our protagonists and to foreshadow events. The acting by the cast of unknowns at this point in the film is largely okay. As you can gather from the above synopsis, you know what you have let yourself in for for the rest of the remanding hour - teens running around an old house and the woods surrounding it chased down by a malevolent witch killing them off one by one. That is it! It is all just very generic offering no surprises at all.

The characters that were so obviously given careful thought by screenwriter Michael Vickerman in the first half hour are now all just one-dimensional cardboard cut-out fodder running about like headless chickens rendering that first act utterly pointless. We could just not care less about them, which is always a problem. There is a distinct lack of suspense and tension and the movie fails to generate any atmosphere. The set-pieces are lifeless crippled by terrible pacing made only worse by the ugly sight of CGI blood. Computer generated imagery has often been misused by filmmakers but for blood there is no excuse as it not only looks fake but it is also just damn lazy. 

The antagonist of the witch is extremely lacklustre with an unconvincing look and presence. We can never believe for once that she is powerful and fails miserably to elicit fear from us made only worse by her equally unconvincing victims and would be victims’ reactions to her. Not only do we not care less about them but also we are never convinced by their fear of the witch and in turn, we do not fear her either. I do not blame the cast though but Vickerman. When the writer was adding layers to their characters in that first half hour, they worked well with the material only for it to be abandoned for the rest of the film and thus their performances suffer for it. The attempts at humour to break up the moments of supposed horror fail hard as well. 

My whole movie loving life horror is the genre that has constantly fucked me over with shittastic offerings like this and it will continue to do so more than any other genre. Straight to disc horror is usually the epitome of hack filmmaking made for a quick buck but it is not always the case when there is actual talent behind the camera. Some solid worthwhile efforts have gone directly to the video shelves. You just have to look at certain sequels to their theatrically released predecessors for example. Such as Brian Yuzna’s damn good 1989 Re-Animator sequel ‘Bride of Re-Animator’, ‘Scanners II: The New Order’ (1991) and Joe Lynch’s ‘Wrong Turn 2: Dead End’ (2007) which pisses all over the terrible 2003 original and the rest of that inferior franchise.

‘The Wicked’ is just so not recommended. This is a shame because watching the first act it was actually quite good in setting up everything - the mythology, the premise, the characters and the foreshadowing. I thought I could end up enjoying it only for it to go on a downward spiral of dreck thereafter. Save your hard-earned dough and watch a truly great film about witchcraft instead with Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977).

* out of ****

Dave J. Wilson

©2013 Cinematic Shocks, Dave J. Wilson - All work is the property of the credited author and may not be reprinted or reproduced elsewhere without permission.


  1. God I wasted my time watching this piece of shit as well * out of **** is to generous.