‘The Wretched’: The most boring horror movie


Artwork by Daniel Valentine

The film has a 5.8/10 on IMDb and a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Daniel Valentine, Staff Writer

“The Wretched” has the stupidest idea for a horror movie ever. Disclaimer: This review is full of spoilers (but you should not watch this movie). Internet Movie Database (IMDb) describes the plot as follows: “A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.” You know a movie is going to be good when a divorce is the first thing mentioned. Most of this movie follows Ben (the teenage boy) around, as he goes to parties and rebels against his dad. The notes I took on this movie mostly say: “This is not a coming of age story. Where is the death and murder?” If you blinked, you would honestly miss it. The three seconds of horror in this one hour and 35 minute movie are really disappointing. 

To start the “horror” properly, we have to lay the groundwork of what the hell the “Wretched” is. It is never mentioned by this name in the movie, only the subtitles call it that. As mentioned in the shoddy description, “The Wretched” is a forest monster skin-walker creature that steals people’s identities after killing them. It is also able to brainwash men, specifically— no women are shown being brainwashed. In the beginning of the movie, there is a flashback to 35 years in the past, which showcases a girl who is babysitting as she walks in on the child being eaten by the Wretched in the basement! This has no relevance to the plot, and is likely just a cheap way to get some horror into the first 20 minutes of the movie. 

We get a whole montage of Ben moving in and it is boring, to say the least. The Wretched actually starts being relevant when the neighbor lady, Abbie, goes hiking with her kid, Dillon. I had to look up the lady’s name because nobody refers to each other by name in this movie. The Wretched tries to lure Dillon into the base of a tree, but luckily Abbie actually cares about him and saves him. They return home with some roadkill, and she cuts it open. All the guts of the deer fall out, and then she just leaves it there. Unwrapped and out in the open. Even though there is a perfectly good tarp she could have used to just wrap up the gross body. Now the Wretched is able to crawl out of the deer and into the house. 

Ben has been “hyper aware” of the Wretched, and tells Dillon to find him if something happens. Cue the Wretched crawling into the baby’s window, killing the baby and also killing Abbie as she tries to save it. This becomes a new skin suit for the Wretched. Dillon runs to Ben’s house and hides, but the Wretched gets the kid back. A couple days later, Dillon misses his swimming lessons at Ben’s job and he is extremely worried about him. Ben runs to their house, and his dad asks “who is Dillon?” The Wretched can make people forget about their kids! This seems like a flawless plan for a murderous witch-monster-thing. Kill kids, make people forget about them. Except for Ben, who is our important main character who somehow remembers everything. 

Eventually, the Wretched abandons ship with Abbie and moves on to Sara, who is Ben’s dad’s girlfriend. Ben finally tries to end the witch’s life by slicing her with a knife and the police are called. Except Sara has already brainwashed the cops! Time to kill Ben. When it actually seems like he might die, Ben is saved by a random dog that has been in the background of the movie. The dog is only relevant enough to save Ben, so he can kill the cop and goes back to kill Sara or whatever. He saves his dad from almost dying, then they run off into the woods to the tree that the Wretched crawled out of. 

Ben and his summer girlfriend go there to rescue their siblings that they forgot about and to kill the Wretched. Ben fulfills the main character archetype and crawls in to save them, leaving the girl to burn the tree. He saves them and we see a fire on screen. Yay, happy ending, they are reunited. Then the movie closes out by implying that Ben’s girlfriend is actually the Wretched. I was not that shocked by this reveal. I was mostly confused and sort of bored by it.

A lot of this film is fluff. I understand that following the main character around is supposed to make us attached to them, but this movie is very bad at that. I was not attached to any of the characters; I mostly just wanted to see the conclusion of this film. This movie was very boring, and I do not understand how this is classified as horror. There is a decent amount of gore in this movie, I guess. Someone gets stabbed, someone else gets sliced, the Wretched pulls out Abbie’s tooth (for some reason) and that is about it. I do not like horror movies because I used to get horrible nightmares as a kid from them. However, I was not scared by the Wretched at all.