The Dark and The Wicked [Fantasia Fest]

Another film that I was super excited for, but also, a film that seemed to miss the mark, not by much, but just a bit.

In the horror community, Bryan Bertino means a lot to a lot of folks. In 2008, he released his debut film, The Strangers and by doing so, made one of the best home invasion films of all time. It’s a film I constantly still quote and is quite memorable. And by the quote, I obviously mean the “why are you doing this to us?” “because you were home” exchange. It’s something so simple, but yet, so chilling. This continues with his film The Monster as well. A very harrowing film about an abusive, alcoholic mother and her daughter as they face an unknown monster in the woods. The same way The Strangers takes place the night that Kristen had just rejected James’ marriage proposal. Bryan loves to put his characters in very tough positions and situations as they suffer from an almost impossible danger.

The same is the case with The Dark and The Wicked, the film follows two siblings Louise (Marin Ireland who recently starred alongside Ellen Page in the second season of Umbrella Academy) and her brother Michael (Michael Abbott Jr. who was in The Death of Dick Long) who go home as their father has gotten so sick, that his death is very imminent. And while they’re at home to help their mother, a lot of strange things happens as evil takes over the home.

To tell you that not much happens in this film is both factual, and a lie. So far, The Dark and The Wicked has some of my favourite sound mixes and editing of the entire fest. It perfectly sets the mood of how unsettling it is to be back at home as you’re able to hear every little noise around them.

The film at its core, is very much about how we either have, or will one day have to deal with the loss of our parents. And even though the film will do its best job at trying to terrify you for when that situation may arise, it’s intention is more so to make us want to call, text, or even see our family members before its too late.

Some of the scares are so well designed, and again, I can not talk about the sound in this film enough. While The Dark and The Wicked is a film that I obviously wished that I would have seen in a dark room, on a big screen, with the sound turned all the way up, if you were to watch it out of the comfort of your own home in the same manner – late at night, with the lights off, and the sound turned up high – you’re not only going to have a good time, but you’ll use second guess every noise you’ll hear as you try to sleep.