THE WICKED (2013)
Directed by Peter Winther
THE WICKED is a low budget breath of fresh air. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a decent horror movie which works with a haunted house, ghost or witch, and this film kinda of tackles all 3 in it’s own way, with the titular ‘The Wicked’ witch very much an ethereal character. Having seen suspenseful movies like last year’s The Woman In Black, which failed to impress, I was quite taken by The Wicked with it’s simplicity yet it’s ability to keep me gripped throughout. Of course, it gets off to a smashing start with little Amanda, a young girl safely tucked up in bed, who confesses to her mother that she’s visited the witch’s house and broke a window. You can imagine what happens next, and even though I’m an adult horror film fan, I found the scene quite shocking and effective. This startling opener sets the tone for the rest of the movie, a film which is very accessible for both teens and adults.
The characters in THE WICKED are all likable, from the group of older teens comprisong of Zach (Justin Deeley), Julie (Jess Adams), Carter (Chase Maser) and Tracey (Jackelyn Gauci) to Zach’s younger teenage brother Max (Devon Werkheiser) and his best friend, Sammy (Diana Hopper). The two brothers start off as conflicting siblings, as most brothers are, with Zach and his friends up to things they shouldn’t be and Max and Diana sticking their noses into their business. All that counts for nothing once they toy around with Open Hearth. The performances from all are believable and as a viewer, we can relate to both Zach, Max and their friends.
One thing I’m rather suprised by is the film’s 18 certificate. I myself would rate it as a 15 as there’s very little blood in it, just three scenes, with the rest of the film praying upon your phobias and effectively using creepy techniques. When deadly scenes do occur, most is done off camera, leaving your imagination to do the work, after hearing the screams and blood-curdling sounds of the victims. A final shot of the gory aftermath is seen with glee and works well for this little horror movie.
The Wicked’s final third slips a little when the witch is revealed for all to see, but the film manages to keep the tension high and the viewer on the edge of their seat. By using practical effects with a hint of CGI, the witch is a whole lot scarier and presents such a fearsome presence over other films which rely on a complete CGI antagonist.
Whilst not a complex plot, The Wicked is entertaining yet an unsettling nightmare of a film. A definite one to watch in the dark late at night!