THE DARK AND THE WICKED is a new horror movie by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) and it works as an actual nightmare. The actors deliver intense and impressive performances in this very dark and sinister story. Read our full The Dark and the Wicked review here!

THE DARK AND THE WICKED is a new horror movie of the very dark and sinister variety. It’s written and directed by Bryan Bertino who gave us The Strangers (2008). A horror movie that is grossly underrated in my book and one that continues to terrify me whenever I watch it. 

The actors deliver intense and impressive performances even though the story didn’t work entirely for me. That’s not to say the movie didn’t work for me, it just didn’t work as well as it could have. 

Continue reading our full The Dark and the Wicked review below.

From the wicked mind of Bryan Bertino

While the story in Bryan Bertino’s 2008 movie The Strangers continues to haunt me to this day, I wasn’t as terrified by the plot in this new movie. However, that’s not to say that it isn’t scary as hell and has moments of pure dread.

The story in The Dark and the Wicked does actually feel similar to The Strangers in the sense that it feels like an actual nightmare. However, this time around we’re dealing with something of a more supernatural setup instead. And yes, it does make it less scary to me, personally, but as a movie-watching experience, it still holds up.

Also, this movie manages to deliver very efficiently on moments of pure horror!

The Dark & The Wicked (2020) Horror Review

Marin Ireland shines

While the small cast of The Dark and the Wicked all deliver amazing performances, Marin Ireland really does shine. I may be a little late to discover this actor since I first became familiar with her in season 2 of the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy. However, now I seem to see her everywhere and I can certainly understand why she’s getting cast in these roles. She’s brilliant!

Actually, she’s even been in movies we’ve reviewed here at Heaven of Horror, but I still feel like she’s new to me somehow. Guess that’s just how it goes sometimes and now I’m very aware of her talent. If you want to check out more movies, she had smaller parts in, then Piercing (2018) and Hell or High Water (2016) are definitely worth watching.

Also in The Dark and the Wicked is Michael Abbott Jr. as the brother of Marin Ireland’s character. Michael Abbott Jr. has a lot of productions coming out soon, so you’ll see more of him in the near future. In a smaller role, we also see Xander Berkeley who you might recognize from The Walking Dead, the 1992 movie Candyman, or even the thriller-mystery Solace.

Watch The Dark and the Wicked in theaters, on VOD, or on Shudder

As already mentioned earlier, Bryan Bertino is the writer and director of The Dark and the Wicked. And while I did (and continue to) love The Strangers, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Blackcoat’s Daughter (aka February) which he produced. However, then he also produced Stephanie (2017) which I definitely enjoyed.

As a writer-director, Bryan Bertino debuted with The Strangers in 2008 and followed this up with Mockingbird in 2014. Then came The Monster in 2016 and now this latest movie is actually only his fourth movie as a director. We still have plenty of great horror stories to come from him, I’m sure, but I can’t help but wait for one that reaches the levels of his debut.

You might like: Our review of Bryan Bertino’s The Monster here >

It’s always both a gift and a curse to start out with something that leaves such a deep mark on people. And yes, I do know of many besides me who adore (or, you know, fear) The Strangers but I doubt The Dark and the Wicked will do the same. It does have some moments of pure horror that should work for most horror fans. Overall, the story is too slow for me even though it’s good, so it’s probably more of a 3½ star rating.

THE DARK AND THE WICKED is out In Theaters, On Digital, and On-Demand on November 6, 2020. It is added to Shudder on February 25, 2021.


Writer & Director: Bryan Bertino
Stars: Marin Ireland, Michael Abbott Jr., Xander Berkeley, Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Michael Zagst, Lynn Andrews, Tom Nowicki


On a secluded farm, a man is slowly dying. Bedridden and fighting through his final breaths, his wife is slowly succumbing to overwhelming grief. To help their mother and say goodbye to their father, siblings Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) return to their family farm. It doesn’t take long for them to see that something’s wrong with mom, though—something more than her heavy sorrow. Gradually, as their own grief mounts, Louise and Michael begin suffering from a darkness similar to their mother’s, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over their family.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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