Skip to main content

The Dark and The Wicked (2020) Movie Review


MPAA Rating

Not Rated

Running Time

95 minutes


Bryan Bertino


Bryan Bertino

Since a lot of us have been in quarantine, there have been many times when we’ve wanted to go to a friend’s house to visit but just couldn’t. Some who’ve decided it was okay to visit family members because, this logic is astounding, “Hey, I know them. There’s no way they could have COVID”, have been infected and (as of this writing) the numbers are on the uptick.

The Dark and the Wicked is more than enough reason not to visit your sick and ailing parents, because we know you mean well but there are forces beyond your control and no matter how good your intentions are, you were f*cked the moment you started the car.

As our unfortunate friends Louise and Mike will soon find out…

Is she reacting to Dark or Wicked?

The Dark and The Wicked opens with a shot of goats. A lot of goats.

There’s also an old woman sewing. Her name is Mother (Julie Oliver-Touchstone) and the family name is Straker. This is one of those movies where characters are named “Mother” and “Father”. I suppose it’s for the best since we don’t want to get attached to them by knowing their names, considering what’s about to happen.

We notice there’s an old man on life support and we assume he’s Father (Michael Zagst). We don’t know exactly what’s wrong with him but it doesn’t look good. At least Mother’s there to take care of him.

But Mother is afraid. She notices something in the chair next to her. It makes her more afraid.

Then a title card reads “Monday”, just in case you cared. It’s helpful when it’s morning that the movie tells you what day it is just in case you were confused. Oddly enough, this #Monday will be the best day the Strakers will have for a very long time because this is the beginning of a very bad, no good week to end all weeks.

Nicely framed hat.

Nicely framed hat.

Father is on his way out and Mother is just doing her best to make sure his transition is as painless as possible.

Mother just found out her grown son and daughter are coming over to help and possibly say their final goodbyes. This is the opposite of what Mother wanted.

The next morning (according to the time stamp it’s “Tuesday”) their daughter Louise just drove up from wherever she’s from. She’s kind enough to enter the gate which is, and I’m not kidding” labeled “GATE”.

Presumably all the goats are labeled “GOAT”.

Mother is not happy to see her. She wants Louise to leave. Father already has a religious nurse named Nurse (Lynne Andrews) and that should be more than enough. Louise refuses because she’s loves her father and she’s in a horror movie and leaving would be the sensible thing to do but Louise is not here be sensible no matter how much the audience screams at her to get the f*ck out of there.

Oddly framed table.

Oddly framed table.

Louise’s brother Mike (Michael Abbott Jr.) is also here. He’s leaving a wife and two daughters to come see his soon-to-be-dead-Father. This should be a fun week and Mike will see his kids again in no time.

Mother is not happy Mike is here but there’s nothing she can really do about it. She might as well make something to eat.

Scroll to Continue

Mother is cutting vegetables (with a knife labeled “KNIFE”) and is doing such a good job that she decides to cut her fingers off…

Could this day, this week, get any better for the Straker family?

Mother decides no.

She goes into the barn and decides to hang herself with all, or most, of the goats watching. Some of those goats don’t really care because they’ve got their own thing going on. If the old white lady wants to hang herself, WTF is a goat going to do? Nothing.

Speaking of nothing, there’s nothing that Louise and Michael can do because their Mother is now dead.

How indeed.

Mike and Louise cut Mother down and feed her to the goats. Might as well. The goats eat cans and leather boots, might as well eat a dead white woman with no fingers on one hand.

Mike finds Mother’s diary (labeled, you guessed it “Provocative Pictures of Daniel Radcliffe As Harry Potter and Some Not As Harry Potter”) and reads some interesting passages.

Mother wrote, back when she was alive and had working fingers that Father would talk to unseen things. She thought he was talking to her but then realized…he wasn’t. He was terrified of what was coming after him but would never say what it was, only that it was dark…and wicked and would make a really vague title to a horror movie.

Now Mother is dead but Father isn’t. Mike and Louise are sure that something made their mother hang herself and is now closer to Father. It will claim him before long and maybe take some other Strakers in the process.

And that’s just Wednesday…

We haven’t even mentioned the sketchy priest (Xander Berkeley) that’s been hanging out by the barn.

I’m not sure, but he really shouldn’t be there.

Then again, neither should Louise and Mike.

The next time your elderly parents want you stay home, you should do it.

Or else…

She has no mouth under there!

She has no mouth under there!

What Works With The Dark and the Wicked

  • If you’re into horror movies with elderly people you would to well to see this movie with the particularly good Relic as a septuagenarian double bill. But if you like your old people naked and murder-y, see Midsommar and Hereditary again while you’re at it.
  • One of the scariest scenes of 2020 include a porch and a young girl with the name “Young girl” (Ella Ballantine). For the most part you know where most of the scares in Wicked are coming from (“He’s rotting!”). Not in this scene.
  • Like last July’s Relic, Wicked is relatively slow burn, but because writer/director Bryan Bertino’s characters are so well-written, it’s equally absorbing as a family drama even before the horror elements kick in.
  • If you’re one of those people that are really into goats and spend most of your life upset that there’s aren’t enough goats or goat-related products in horror movies, then this is the horror movie for you, because there’s a goatload of goats. If you added 6 more goats to this movie, it would be a goat-tastrophe.

What Doesn’t Work With The Dark and The Wicked

  • More than a couple of scenes where a character sees something frightening, turns away, looks back at it, and…it’s DISAPPEARED!!! That gets repetitive real fast.
Flame broiled.

Flame broiled.


If you like old people and goats, then The Wicked and The Dark may be the movie for you. If you don’t mind the deliberate buildup, then Wicked is a very effective horror movie. Don’t see it with your elderly parents because they don’t want you there.

Really 3.5 but I’m rounding down


Buy The Dark and The Wicked Here!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Noel Penaflor

Related Articles