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Brett Pierce, Drew T. Pierce
John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Jamison Jones
Writing Credits:
Brett Pierce, Drew T. Pierce

Struggling with his parents' imminent divorce, teenaged Ven faces off with a thousand year-old witch.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM 2.0
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 8/11/2020

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce
• Audio Commentary with Composer Devin Burrows
• Trailer & Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Wretched [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 24, 2020)

With a title like The Wretched, we get limited genres into which it’d fit. If you guessed “horror”, then congrats! You win nothing, as that becomes the obvious choice.

After his parents separate, teenaged Ben (John-Paul Howard) goes to live with his father (Jamison Jones). There he works at his dad’s marina, where he gets to know the local kids as well as his dad’s new girlfriend (Azie Tesfai).

These matters change before long, though, as Ben discovers an insidious secret at the neighbor’s house. An evil force takes control, and it appears only Ben can find a way to deal with this supernatural trauma.

Though both worked on animated series and other cinematic/TV endeavors, Wretched acts as just the second full-length effort from brothers Brett and Drew T. Pierce. Their only prior work came from 2011’s zombie flick Deadheads.

Because I never saw that 2011 film, I can’t judge it. Wretched doesn’t inspire me with a desire to view Deadheads, though, as it offers a pretty mediocre horror experience.

That doesn’t make it a bad flick, as it comes with enough energy to occupy the viewer. With a mix of scares and plot twists, it manages to maintain some interest.

However, Wretched also feels like a missed opportunity, partly because it seems unfocused. The film tries so hard to pack in so many genre elements and influences that it fails to coalesce into a particularly coherent project.

Boy, do we get a lot of influences here! Wretched feels like a melange of Blair Witch Project, Fright Night, The Witch, Lost Boys, Rear Window, Goonies, Poltergeist, Aliens and a bunch more movies that I forget right now.

In general, I’d say Wretched brings a pretty clear Spielberg influence, much more than expected. A look at the Blu-ray cover art you can see to the left paints Wretched as a dark, chilly affair, but that doesn’t prove true.

Instead, Wretched comes across as much perkier than I anticipated. Sure, it brings some moments of graphic violence, but these rarely elevate above the level of “PG-13”, and the general tone seems light.

This doesn’t really work, mainly because of the inconsistencies. The film bops from one influence to another with such alacrity, it fails to find a groove, and the variations in tone add to the problems.

Wretched telegraphs too much, partly because it doesn’t let the terror sneak up on us. This becomes a common trend with modern horror flicks, as they usually refuse to let themselves evolve gradually.

Producers appear to demand scares early, lest these films lose viewers eager for fright. Whatever happened to the Psycho model, the notion that a movie can seem to go one way and then veer another?

That would’ve worked well for Wretched. Build it as a standard teen coming of age tale – replete with the usual hijinks and summer love – before the film goes another way.

Instead, Wretched ensures that we know exactly how it’ll proceed from the start. This choice robs it of much natural tension.

As I mentioned, Wretched still manages to offer a watchable flick despite its flaws. It just doesn’t threaten to become anything above average.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Wretched appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a mostly appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness appeared good. A few slightly soft shots occasionally occurred, but they remained minor, so most of the flick offered pretty positive delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and I also noticed no edge haloes nor print flaws.

In terms of palette, Wretched went with fairly chilly sense of teal and amber. Nothing about the hues stood out, but they seemed fine for this production.

Blacks appeared fairly full and dense, while low-light shots gave us mostly good clarity. Some shadows could seem a bit thick, but those elements usually worked fine. In general, I felt pleased with the transfer.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack accentuated the material. Most of the livelier moments related to the occasional scare elements, and we got enough of those to fill out the spectrum reasonably well. Otherwise, the film emphasized quiet ambience and provided pretty positive integration.

Sound quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech came across as crisp and natural. The mix seemed to be satisfactory.

We find two audio commentaries, the first of which comes from writers/directors Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce. Both brothers sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters/influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, music, and related domains.

Expect a pretty good chat from the Pierce boys here, as they cover their movie well. They maintain an engaging tone and turn this into an informative look at the film.

For the second commentary, we hear from composer Devin Burrows. He provides his own running, screen-specific discussion of his work and the film.

Occasionally, as Burrows often either lets the movie pass without comment or he offers praise. The many dead spots wouldn’t bother me as much if this turned into a combo commentary/isolated score, but alas, the disc just plays the standard soundtrack, so we don’t get Burrows’ work on its own. This becomes a poor excuse for a commentary.

The disc opens with ads for The Other Lamb, How to Build a Girl, The Trip to Greece and Babyteeth. We also get the trailer for Wretched.

With too many overt cinematic influences and a messy narrative, The Wretched can’t discover a groove. While the film remains moderately entertaining, it frustrates due to its problematic choices. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture and audio along with two commentaries. Although I didn’t dislike the movie, I couldn’t find anything here to make it succeed in a strong manner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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