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The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Atmospheric horror that kind of delivers

Photo+courtesy+of+RLJE+Films%0A%E2%80%9CThe+Dark+and+the+Wicked%E2%80%9D+captivates+its+audience+with+a+dismal+and+nightmarish+tale+of+two+grieving+siblings%2C+isolated+in+the+countryside+while+evil+lurks+all+around+them.
Photo courtesy of RLJE Films “The Dark and the Wicked” captivates its audience with a dismal and nightmarish tale of two grieving siblings, isolated in the countryside while evil lurks all around them.

ALYSON OLIVER
campus editor

Photo courtesy of RLJE Films
“The Dark and the Wicked” captivates its audience with a dismal and nightmarish tale of two grieving siblings, isolated in the countryside while evil lurks all around them.

There is nothing more terrible than being left alone.

Bryan Bertino’s “The Dark and the Wicked” relays this message with the help of its lonely farmland setting and its sparse cast of characters.

Siblings Louise and Michael, played by Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr., are at

the forefront of the film. They travel to their parents’ farm to visit their dying father, even though their mother had told them before hand not to come.

Once Louise and Michael arrive at the farm, there is an ominous sense something is very wrong below the surface level. And soon after their arrival, their mother dies, leaving the two of them alone to care for their father.

From there on, Louise and Michael undergo one horror after another over the

course of a week. The incidents escalate in se- verity. Every day feels more despairing.

With its enigmatic and minimalistic sto- ryline, “The Dark and the Wicked” is a cold, unsettling viewing experience, harboring a feeling of deep dread and building its atmo- sphere upon isolation. The film has several standout scenes that are truly frightening, and its jump scares don’t feel out of place or over- used. There is a sense the narrative itself cares nothing for its characters or their wellbeing.

Religious themes are a large part of the film, and it employs them in a way that doesn’t feel too tired or overdone. None of the main characters believe in a higher power, which adds an interesting element to the story. Other characters’ belief in the supernat- ural is used to make the disturbing outcome of some scenes feel more potent.

The score composed by Tom Schraeder features soft piano and strings juxtaposed by growling drones and metallic caterwauls that complement the film’s tone. The visuals are a mix of dark, beautiful, grotesque or all three at once.

Louise and Michael read through their mother’s diary after her death in an effort to
discover what happened in the days preceding their arrival.

While “The Dark and the Wicked” is successful in these ways, it doesn’t do as well in other areas. It could use some more leeway to maximize its effect, for instance. At times the movie feels disjointed – like a quick-paced conglomerate of frightening scenes and brief conversations rather than a developing story. Many serious conversations feel rushed with little room for the audience to experience the impact of the words being spoken.

A few scares fall flat due to their reliance on well-worn cliches that have not been re- worked or executed from a fresh perspective. And the buildup to the end is gripping, but unfortunately, the very last scene is lackluster and unsatisfying. It gives the impression the film didn’t deliver to the full potential it cer- tainly has.

However, that’s not to say it isn’t still worth a watch. “The Dark and the Wicked” harbors immersive, deep-seated gloom that captivates and clings after the credits roll. Its tone, visuals and soundtrack do a nice job of balancing out the elements it doesn’t excel at.

For those who enjoy atmospheric horror with a focus on family dynamics and religious themes, “The Dark and the Wicked” may be a good pick. It is currently showing in theaters and is avaiable for rental or purchase on Amazon Video

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