The Dark and the Wicked is the kind of film that makes you turn on all of the light before you go to bed. It makes you want to fill the shadows, and flinch at every creaking sound your house makes.
Bryan Bertino, the man behind the underrated Strangers (2008), does a sterling job directing his own very taut screenplay.
Siblings return to the family farm to see their dying father. The bleak surroundings and a mother struggling to cope, are just the start of their problems. The tension builds from the opening scene. That feeling of dread hangs onto you like an anchor, a weight tied to your ankle pulling you to the bottom of a lake.
In many ways this film reminded me of Robert Eggers’s debut feature The Witch (2015). Both use the same gut wrenching soundscape that reaches inside, and send a shiver down your spine.
The Dark and the Wicked is creepy and threatening and revels in the kind of jump scares Val Lewton would be proud of.
Watch this with the lights off, and someone of a nervous disposition, for the most satisfying experience.