THE WRETCHED (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘Something wicked wants inside’

The Wretched is a 2019 American supernatural horror feature film about a teenage boy who suspects his next-door neighbour is a witch.

Written and directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce (Deadheads), the Cailleach Productions movie stars Azie Tesfai, Piper Curda, Kevin Bigley and Zarah Mahler.


A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parent’s imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand-year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door…


The Wretched premiered at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 19th. IFC Midnight released the movie on digital and VOD on May 1st 2020. Buy:

The movie has had a very successful drive-in run during the lockdown and was the number one movie at the box office for several weeks. A Blu-ray release is due out on August 11th which includes a feature commentary by The Pierce Brothers and a feature commentary with composer Devin Burrows.


The Wretched is a well-balanced mix of coming-of-age drama and supernatural horror. Whilst the genre aspects are done well, there’s nothing quite as terrifying as being a teenager […] The Pierce Brothers have created a chilling, suspenseful tale which benefits from its investment in its human elements.” Backseat Mafia

“While that key moment reveal of the third act weakens this unique story’s conclusion, The Wretched still has plenty to offer. A new creature feature with plenty more story left to tell, great FX work, and a tightly spun story that means you won’t be bored.” Bloody Disgusting


“With the genre already filled with iconic classics, it is great to see a new directing and writing team bring fresh concepts to the table. This is a new age folktale filled with blood, terror, and practical effects. If you enjoyed Evil Dead or are a sucker for a good witch story, don’t miss The Wretched.” CG Magazine

“While not quite a game-changing, jaw-dropping affair, The Wretched is a damn fun time. Between its character development, the practical effects, and the coming-of-age tale at its center, it accomplishes much in its roughly ninety minutes. It neither overstays its welcome nor makes an Irish exit before anyone notices it’s gone. What scares and grossness exists is neither cheap nor overdone.” Crypt Teaze

“The directing duo, Pierce Brothers, have fashioned an affectionate nod to the classic horror movies of the 80s, without the corniness. It’s a lean, entertaining ride, with some great practical effects and seriously creepy witchiness (all wide crazy eyes and creaking contorted limbs), especially as the witch itself hides within the “shell” of its victims and uses the body as its own.” Cult Projections

” …based on its fearlessness for depicting creatures killing children, and fusion of gun-and-go filmmaking with a flair for savagery, if The Wretched is indicative of the stylish creepy-crawling The Pierce Brothers can deliver, expect to see bigger and bolder productions in the duo’s future.” Culture Crypt


“There are some amazing shots here, like the witch being reflected in the eye of a dead deer. This creates the best kind of atmosphere you could ever want from a horror film, and it has the chilling score by Devin Burrows to match. The Wretched is a wicked and suspenseful thrill until the very end…” Daily Dead

The Wretched is a highly cinematic film, crafted with confidence and creativity. Its weakest point is its conclusion, but the story that precedes it features truly unique supernatural concepts and effective scares. The Pierce duo has injected awesome new ideas into the underexplored witchcraft subgenre.” Dread Central

“A killer third act story shift is a clever stroke that intriguingly colours much of what has occurred before and demands a return viewing. This, alongside the personable characters, believable relationships and a genuine peril that leaves major characters in the ground come the final fade-out, makes The Wretched a horror flick to champion.” Electric Shadows

” …it’s all too much for 90 minutes to sort into anything compelling or engaging […] If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a major twist that would probably be more effective if it actually made sense. It’s hard to say anything in The Wretched is outright terrible, but it is underwhelming and squanders worthwhile creature design.” Flickering Myth

“Not only does the story in The Wretched work really well (and manages to surprise you a few times). It also features very well written and engaging characters. Anytime you want any movie to work, this is paramount. And for witch horror, it’s almost more important; If you want us to buy into the witch premise, we need characters to make it believable.” Heaven of Horror

“The cinematography is fantastic. Some of the shots are subtle but really make an impression. One, in particular, is the reflection of the witch in an eye. If you blink, you’ll miss it, but it is so clever. Writer-directors Brett Pierce and Drew Pierce have created a film that deserves to be seen.” Horror Fuel

“Slick and polished, with enough gore and excellent creature effects to satiate horror fans, much of The Wretched is solid if standard genre fare. While it may not dive to any great psychological depths or explore any new territory, there are surprises to find and definite horror pleasures throughout. It’s not a bad way to kill 90 minutes, not a bad way at all.” The Last Thing I See

” …it opts for a more playfully Hitchcockian suspense approach whose tone is set by the hero’s rising panic, as well as the seriocomedy of his failure to convince anyone else what’s happening. With likable performances keeping us emotionally grounded in a fat-free narrative progress, this may not be terribly scary, but it has nary a dull moment.” Variety

“One thing that definitely helps The Wretched succeed are its effects, both visual and sound. They are, appropriately practical as far as I can tell. There’s enough of an ick factor to them without going overboard. And when we get a good look at the witch in its natural state the design and execution of the makeup are convincingly creepy.” Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

Azie Tesfai … Sara
Piper Curda … Mallory
Kevin Bigley … Ty
Zarah Mahler … Abbie
Richard Ellis … Gage
Tug Coker … Mr Gambel
John-Paul Howard … Ben
Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden … JJ
Jamison Jones … Liam
Amy Waller … Nora
Ja’layah Washington … Lily
Blane Crockarell … Dillon
Eric Guenter Weber … Store customer
Kasey Bell … Officer Kopitar
Madelynn Stuenkel … Hag


Filming locations:

Northport, Michigan

Working title:


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