The Dark and the Wicked (2020)

Not dissimilar to “Hereditary” and “Relic,” “The Dark and the Wicked” is part of a new breed of mature horror movies that tackles the horrors of watching a loved one die slowly. It’s an intense (and intensely emotionally potent) narrative device that allows filmmaker Bryan Bertino to create horrifying, downright terrifying content (like chairs moving by themselves, spectral apparitions in the night, etc) without ever losing focus of his overall thesis or straying beyond the parameters of his story. Lead actress Marin Ireland brings a great deal of gravitas to her central role, digging her claws into her role with the severity of a grand actress being given a plum role after years of aimless wandering, while co-star Michael Abbott Jr. matches her intensity beat-for-beat, and the two play off each other extraordinarily well: Their sibling dynamic is totally believable, with decades of disappointments and resentments bubbling near the surface while they’re under so much pressure, and their relationship cements the movie in a horrifyingly believable reality, which heightens the tension and emotion of the circumstances.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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