Every town in America has their version of “The Wicked.” They’re the weird person, house, or other location kids whisper about amongst themselves in fear and parents use to threaten their children with. It’s the old house on the hill everyone walks faster by on the way home from school or the old man or woman we’re told not to talk to.
Director Peter Winther and writer Michael Vickerman put together a fun little indie film that is only hindered by shoddy CGI and a wavering sense of who it was made for. “The Wicked” is an extended episode of R.L. Stine’s “The Haunting Hour” until we get one or two sequences of sexuality and dialogue littered with bad language. Movies like this always leave me shaking my head in wonder. If they tone down those elements or omit them, they would have a PG-13 film that more people could enjoy.
The title character (Cassie Keller) would make any person feel anxious or frightened. She’s a witch who maintains her beauty through devouring children. The legend goes that if you visit her house in the woods and break one of its windows, she will come for you.
“The Wicked” is both a coming-of-age tale like “The Goonies” or “The Monster Squad” and a slasher flick like “Urban Legend” or “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” There are two sets of main characters. First, we have two life-long teenage friends, Devon Werkheiser (“Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide”) and Diana Hopper, in that awkward state where they start to have feelings for each other. Secondly, we have the hip sex-crazed high schoolers who are always looking for a new thrill.
The CGI is at best on the same level as any number of fantasy shows from the late 1990s and early 2000s. They definitely don’t blend seamlessly with their surroundings. I do want to give props to the practical effects supervisors. The Wicked’s makeup and the gore effects look great and made me cringe a few times.
The packaging for the DVD promises a featurette entitled “No Soul is Safe: The Making of ‘The Wicked.” I’ve searched the main menu and looked for it under the scene selections tab. It’s nowhere to be found. A little background on how the movie came about would be interesting.
Although it has its flaws, “The Wicked” is still an entertaining horror tale that many viewers will nostalgically identify with. If you can just get past the weak CGI and delve into the story, you’ll enjoy yourself. They should do a PG-13 and an R-rated version of the movie to reach both age ranges. I could see this playing on Teen Nick and the Chiller Channel simultaneously.
“The Wicked” is available now on DVD.