Parents' Guide to

The Dark and the Wicked

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Blood and gore in scary, mature haunted house movie.

Movie NR 2020 95 minutes
The Dark and the Wicked Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Gorey

Wow. This is a fantastic film! I screamed out loud during it. I love horror and have to say, this is one of my favourites. It is very gorey. Like, there is so much gore. Some of the triggers in it are suicide and blood. If you can handle gore, I would say go for it. If it's not your thing, try another film

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Essentially a haunted house movie, this foreboding, scary flick relies on a few old horror tricks but somehow freshens them up with its strong, vivid characters and its dark sense of the unknown. Writer-director Bryan Bertino, who's best known for his gory, brutal home invasion movie The Strangers, takes a step back into something more classical with The Dark and the Wicked. With potent sound design and use of music, he makes an old farmhouse and its accompanying barn into places of terror. A homemade alarm system consisting of empty bottles and bits of metal dangling from strings becomes more of an attack than a warning.

Bertino uses many jump scares and artificial shocks, but within this atmosphere, they're genuinely chilling. Some scenes are laden with visual effects, but others, such as a simple phone call, can likewise make your skin crawl. Ireland and Abbott Jr. are very strong in their roles, arguing about what to do and wanting to get out of the house but unable to leave their dying father. (A nurse asserts that a person dying alone is the worst thing that can happen.) The siblings' dynamic, full of regret and weariness, feels authentic. But perhaps the best thing about The Dark and the Wicked is that it understands how the scariest stuff in the world is the unknown, and it uses that effectively, right up to the final moment.

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