One key element to reviewing movies is to take them for what they are. If you go in thinking that every horror movie is going to be Scream or Trick r’ Treat, you are more than likely going to end up a little disappointed. It’s easy to expect these things when we’re seeing advertisements during every other commercial break or reading about it consistently on our favorite website but when you get something that comes straight to DVD in the middle of April, remember to go in with your expectations within reach.
That being said, The Wicked is an amusing and entertaining teen thriller that is definitely aimed at the younger audience. It’s never truly frightening nor does it tread into the well known territory of topless females and unnecessary sex. We instead get teased with lots of shadows darting around in the peripherals and sexual innuendo but never to the point of frustration.
The movie takes place in a small town where a local legend has existed for decades. There is an abandoned house in the middle of the woods and story has it that a witch used to live in it but was burned at the stake. In modern day, if you throw rocks at the house and break a window, she’ll come after you. It’s a little on the silly side but it’s a fun background, reminiscent of other b-grade horror flicks such as Darkness Falls or My Soul To Take.
Max (Devon Werkheiser, Beneath the Darkness) and Zach (Justin Deeley, 90210) are brothers who don’t get along. When Zach and his friends decide to camp out by the Wicked’s house, Max and his tomboy best friend Sammy (Diana Hopper) decide to crash and ultimately all the teens must confront The Wicked before the night is over.
Being a straight to DVD b-grade horror movie, a lot could have made this movie unwatchable. Luckily, director Peter Winther was able to pull together a cast that isn’t bad and a script that isn’t groundbreaking but is a far way from intolerable. The entire cast does exactly what is expected from a teen scream, they’re sensual, humorous and wide eyed at all the right moments and the location and legend of the entire movie help amp up the total entertainment value. No one actor outshines any of the others and it helps detract from the overall inexperience of the cast. The worst acting comes from many of the adults in the movie but their on-screen time is minimal so it doesn’t become a hinderance. Nothing is truly frightening but it’s all laced in a gothic fairy tale vibe, really making the movie perfect as an entry level horror film, something a younger person could use to introduce themselves into the medium.
Looking at the director and writer of this movie is actually pretty strange. Winther hasn’t directed much but he produced on movies such as Independence Day and Godzilla whereas Michael Vickerman wrote Warriors of Virtue. That’s right, the nineties movie with elemental samurai kangaroos. So it’s an eclectic bunch behind the camera but they manage to pull together an enjoyable teen horror movie.
I touched on how expectations play a lot into whether you’re going to enjoy a movie or not. It’s something that the late Roger Ebert really emphasized and definitely something I take into account before every viewing. So that being said, The Wicked is an easy to watch horror movie with a fun background and solid cast.