THE WRETCHED is a new horror movie in the witch subgenre. Not only do we highly recommend this little gem, it’s one of the best witch horror movies we’ve ever seen. The movie just had its world premiere at Fantasia 2019. Read more in our The Wretched review here!

The Wretched is a new horror movie premiering at Fantasia 2019. We didn’t know what to expect from this movie except for witches. After all, The Wretched is a horror movie in the witch subgenre. And it’s a damn good one.

The effects in this movie were much better than I would expect. And the characters are more developed than what I could hope for. Of course, awesome special effects are just the cherry on top. Because if this is the only thing that works, the movie won’t be good.

For me, the story and characters absolutely have to work. And also, the actors simply have to deliver. In the case of The Wretched, everything works exactly as you’d hope. In fact, it’s better!

Read more about why this movie is one to look forward to in our full The Wretched review below.

Such a good cast

The main protagonist in The Wretched is a teenage boy spending the summer with his dad while his parents are divorcing. His name is Ben and the audience follows him as some very strange things take place.

Ben is played wonderfully by John-Paul Howard who we recently saw in 14 Cameras (the sequel to 13 Cameras). With John-Paul Howard, you get an actor that portrays Ben as both very likable and a bratty defiant teenager. Both are important to make sure Ben seems like a “real” character.

My other favorite teenage character was Mallory who brought both humor and honesty to the mix. Mallory is played by Piper Curda, who has worked on several Disney Channel productions. Hopefully, we’ll get to see her in more horror in the future. She has final girl material written all over her!

Also worth mentioning is Zarah Mahler, who plays the woman living next door. If you read the plot for The Wretched, then you’ll know she has quite the character-arc ahead of her in this movie. She was recently in the horror anthology Nightmare Cinema.

The Wretched – Review – Fantasia 2019

Witch horror done right!

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.

Honestly, this movie flew a bit under our rader so it wasn’t on our “Must-Watch”-list of movies at Fantasia 2019. However, it is absolutely turning out to be one of our favorites so far at Fantasia 2019. 

This isn’t a laid back slowburner like the sleeper hit The VVitch (2015) or even a wild witch story like Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009). Both of which are among my favorite witch movies. Instead, The Wretched is more like a very dark fairytale that has a whole world of its own. One that you completely buy into.

The Pierce Brothers know horror!

The Wretched was written and directed by The Pierce Brothers. Specifically, Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce. They also made the zombie adventure horror comedy Deadheads back in 2011. In terms of feature films, The Wretched is only their second movie.

We don’t do spoilers here at Heaven of Horror, but I do want to state that I loved the finale. It was done in such an intelligent and elegant way that it blew me away.

The Pierce Brothers need to enjoy the success they’ll have with The Wretched for a while. And yet, I hope they get back to making another horror movie very soon. Also, I need to find Deadheads since it sounds like something I’d love!

The Wretched had its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival 2019 on July 19, 2019.

When you get the chance to watch The Wretched, you need to jump at that opportunity. It will be out on VOD May 1, 2020.


Directors: Brett Pierce, Drew Pierce
Writers: Brett Pierce, Drew Pierce
Stars: Kasey Bell, Kevin Bigley, Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden, Blane Crockarell, Piper Curda, Richard Ellis, John-Paul Howard, Jamison Jones, Ross Kidder, Zarah Mahler, Judah Paul, Azie Tesfai, Amy Waller, Ja’laya Washington


Distressed by his parents’ forthcoming divorce and hoping to clear his head, 17-year-old Ben visits his father for the summer. He quickly becomes aware of horrific happenings taking place on his street. A centuries-old evil is terrorizing the young family next door. Stemming from the nearby woods, and soon residing in the very skin of the mother, it begins preying upon the local children. Ben tries to get help. No one believes him. If he wants to save the town, he’ll somehow have to go at it alone. Meanwhile, off in the woods, voices are calling out to people from the base of an ancient, rotting tree…

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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