Atmosphere and SOUND can make or break a horror film. You should be surrounded by dread and an impending sense of doom. Unlike a comedy or a drama, there should be that idea that just around the corner will be a scare or some insecurity of safety.

‘The Dark and the Wicked’ brings the slow burn of ‘The VVitch’ adds a haunted family dynamic of ‘Hereditary’ and the isolation of ‘The Strangers.’

Director Bryan Bertino, director of said ‘Strangers,’ sets the mood early with none other than a pack of goats, and something sinister within the flock. It’s little things like this throughout the film that give pause and make you re-think what you may have seen. The film certainly plays plenty of tricks on your senses.

I bring up SOUND again, because i can imagine what it would be like to experience ‘Wicked’ in a theater. With just some good headphones I was able to take in all the ambient noise, breathing, muttering, and every creak and groan of the old farmhouse and barn. It sent plenty of shivers up my spine.

Much like this year’s ‘Relic,’ which seems to be the closest comparison I’ve been seeing for far, ‘Wicked’ is the story of a family in peril and dealing with it’s own belief, or lack of belief. Aside from a slightly ‘meh’ end shot, Bertino has crafted a truly unsettling gothic family horror story with a creep factor that combines the recent creepiness of Ari Aster’s work, a the dread of madness of ‘The Shining.’

‘The Dark and the Wicked’ will have it’s International Premier at Fantasia Fest 2020. For more info on the film click HERE.

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