This one was a blind buy at the bargain section of the local HMV and I didn’t have expectations about its quality but it at least it turned out to be an entertaining film that isn’t anything to excited about but also doesn’t take itself too seriously so is less of a grind than other low budget films.
Before the titles we see a little girl Amanda (Caitlin Carmichael) in her bed and she is terrified, crying to her mother about the Wicked. Her mother tries to reassure her that the Wicked is just a silly story but later that night something does come and drags Amanda away. So even before the titles we know that the Wicked is real and is some sort of powerful supernatural evil
Witches really do get rough treatment at the hands of horror writers, who have turned them into a movie monster so you can’t expect a serious study of witchcraft in this film. Witches are particularly convenient in horror films because their use of magic spells means writers can pull their powers out of thin air as the story requires and that happens quite a lot in this film.
In the town of Bogie Falls there’s a legend that a witch (Cassie Keller) was burnt to death sometime in the past. The person telling the story says it was about a hundred years ago but I’m sure that they didn’t get away with burning witches in 1913 no matter how rural Baker County might be. She didn’t die because she comes back every year on the spring equinox to steal people away and eat them, starting from their feet. She has to do this to keep herself alive. There was a ritual dare for the local high school kids to go to her house called Open Hearth which is still standing out in the woods. As a dare the kids throw rocks at the house but if anyone breaks a window then the witch will come for them. This is what happened to Amanda so even though it is being as treated as a silly story to scare kids we already know it is true.
What this film needs is a bunch of high school students who are stupid enough to go to Open Hearth and perfect fort this role is 18-year-old Zach (Justin Deeley) and his friends Carter (Chase Maser) and Tracy (Jackelyn Gauci). They are talking about plans to go camping at Open Hearth while a younger girl Sammy (Diana Hopper) eavesdrops from the nearby bushes. Sammy is a close friend of Zach’s younger brother Max (Devon Werkheiser) and she tells Max about Zach’s plans and suggests they go up there too and perhaps get photographs of them being naughty so that Max can use them to blackmail Zach. Sammy and Max have often got up to mischief together but Max is starting to want to grow up a bit while Sammy wants to cling onto her childhood. After suffering from a spot of Zach throwing his weight around Max agrees to go with her.
There is another person joining them and they pick her up next day on the way to the campsite. Terri (Nicole Forester) is a new girl at school and Tracy has invited her along as a date for Zach. She is not only attractive and pretty smart but going by her family’s house her parents are loaded. We learn all about the legend of the witch from Carter as he tells the story to Terri trying to scare her but Terri doesn’t take any of it seriously and nor does Zach.
There’s also a pair of dickhead comedy relief deputies Karl (Jamie Kaler) and Mahoney (Robert Young) who take a perverse pleasure in hassling Sammy and Max. Deputy Karl was a regular victim of the pair’s childish pranking and now he has a badge he wants to abuse it for petty payback.
Zach and friends drive to small lake that is a short hike away from Open Hearth and set up camp before going to the house and throwing stones at it. Of course a window breaks but they just laugh and creep themselves out at shadows moving around in the house then head back the campsite. Carter and Tracy pair off for comically noisy sex while Zach and Terri chat by the lake before they go for a swim and sex in the lake.
Meanwhile Max and Sammy have arrived at the house and they also throw rocks at it and Max breaks a window. The witch comes out of the house after them and they run into the woods but the witch has a crazy CGI smoke teleportation power and she catches them. The story involves a lot of running away from the witch through the woods and going into the house to rescue people from the witch before she puts through her large rusty meat grinder and eats them.
This looks like a low-budget film judging by the special effects but the story was entertaining enough. The acting was very variable quality and there was some pretty corny dialogue that sounded awkward in the delivery. I did like the characters, especially Terri who seemed a lot less dumb than typical horror film characters. You can hardly accuse the film of originality but there were a few nice touches of detail that helps it to stand out a little.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- The Wicked’ Attempts to Satisfy Fans of ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ (Review) (popmatters.com)