Fantasia Festival Review: THE DARK AND THE WICKED Is One Of The Best Horror Films Of The Year

4 out of 5 stars

Bryan Bertino’s The Dark And The Wicked is a film constructed from creepy atmosphere and and honest of emotion. A family drama enshrouded in a dark cloak, the film is an intelligent horror which is as much about the loss of parents as it is about anything else.

With their father slowly dying, Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) return to their elderly parents farm to be with him during his final days. Their mother isn’t happy that they’ve arrived and she keeps telling them that they shouldn’t have come. We’re not quite sure why, but there’s something dark and wicked lurking around the rural homestead. 

A slow evolving film, The Dark And The Wicked shares similar DNA to the recent Australian horror film, Relic. Both films use the supernatural as a way of illustrating our inner fears of family and loss. Bertino’s film takes a look at how we perceive our parents and how these perceptions change over time as we grow from being children to adults. It’s abut returning to the family home and seeing it in a different light – nothing shifts perspective quite like the passing of time. 

The Dark And The Wicked is a slow burning piece which carefully heightens its tension as it evolves. Bryan Bertino makes great use the isolated farm setting and he incorporates some powerful imagery and genuine scares into the dramatic beats.  The performances from Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr are strong and you understand their moral dilemmas and fears as the film progresses. 

A well crafted and intelligent horror film, The Dark And The Wicked is a strong and powerful slice of genre cinema which gets deep under the skin. It’s one of the best horror films of the year.