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Film / The Dark and the Wicked

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I told ya'll not to come.

"We can't change this! We don't matter!"
Michael Straker

The Dark and the Wicked is a 2020 Religious Horror film written and directed by Bryan Bertino, starring Marin Ireland, Michael Abbot Jr., Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Lynn Andrews, Tom Nowicki and Michael Zagst.

On a secluded farm in Thurber Texas, a man (Zagst) is slowly dying. His two children, Louise Straker (Ireland) and Michael Straker (Abbot Jr.) gather to mourn along with their mother (Oliver-Touchstone), and the two siblings soon begin to suspect that something evil is taking over their family.

The film had its world premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival on August 28, 2020. It was released on November 06, 2020, by RLJE Films.


The Dark and the Wicked provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: The evil force terrorizing the Straker family is heavily implied to be the Devil.
  • Creepy Child: Charlie's granddaughter. "Well, it's just... do you... do you smell him?"
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The nurse stabbing herself to death with her own knitting needles definitely takes the cake for this one.
  • Daylight Horror: While most the horror in this movie does happen at night, a few scenes also happen during the middle of the day, such as Charlie's granddaughter visiting Louise, the nurse killing herself with her knitting needles, Michael and Louise finding their mother's dead body, Louise hallucinating her comatose father standing behind the shower curtain, and Michael hallucinating his wife's and children's dead bodies after he returns home.
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  • Death by Pragmatism: Michael realizes that he and Louise are powerless to stop the evil force terrorizing his family at his childhood home, and decides to leave. Even far away from his childhood home, he still succumbs to the effects of the force and commits suicide.
  • Demonic Possession: The nurse certainly became possessed during Louise's phone call with Michael. It's a bit more vague with Charlie's granddaughter, did she become possessed or was she always the Devil in costume?.
  • Despair Event Horizon: This is the Devil's MO. He psychologically torments his prey until they are pushed into the throes of despair and commit suicide.
  • Devil, but No God: Despite the nurse praying and her steadfast belief in God, God doesn't seem to do much to stop the Devil from terrorizing the Strakers and driving almost all of them, including the nurse herself, to suicide.
  • Driven to Suicide: What happens to almost all of the members of the Straker family, as well as Charlie and the nurse. The only exceptions are the father, who's dying anyway, and Louise, who is attacked by the Devil in his true form at the end of the movie.
  • Evil Phone: "I told ya'll not to come."
  • Eye Scream: The nurse impales herself through the eyes with her knitting needles before dropping dead.
  • Final Girl: Subverted. Louise is the last surviving member of her family and survives until the very end of the movie, where the Devil attacks her in his true form. She possibly still could've survived though.
  • Fin Gore: The mother chops off her fingers as she's chopping carrot and continues to chop them up into smaller and smaller pieces despite the pain.
  • For the Evulz: Much like the reasoning for the antagonists in Bryan Bertino's most wellknown movie, The Strangers, there was no reason why the Devil chose the Strakers. They didn't do anything to 'invite' him, didn't play with any ouiji boards or the like, they were just unlucky enough to be the family that he decided to terrorize.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Louise attempts to leave the house after waking up from being attacked by the possessed nurse but after only a few steps, returns to stay by her father's side as he passes away.
  • Jump Scare: There's a lot in this movie.
  • Kick the Dog: The Devil doesn't extend any mercy to the family's goats, massacring all but five of them.
  • Kill 'Em All: Heavily implied that Louise, the last surviving onscreen member of the Straker family, also dies.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: It appears that the siblings are only terrorized when apart from each other. Despite this, Michael still decides to leave Louise alone in the home with their father so that he could make sure the remaining goats are not killed. Inevitably, both Michael and Louise are attacked during the night.
    • However, they both also do see and hear the priest beckoning them to come outside one night together. So maybe staying together wouldn't have helped them.
  • Mercy Kill: Heavily implied to be what Michael performed after one of their last remaining goats limped up to him with one of their back legs ripped off.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: Most of the horror happens at night.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never actually see the evil force AKA the Devil, apart from two very brief glimpses at the beginning and end of the movie.
  • Offing the Offspring: Michael hallucinating that his wife killed his two daughters and then herself and only realizing it was a hallucination until it was far too late.
  • Ominously Open Door: One of the first signs for Louise that something may not quite be right with her childhood home is the front door slowly swinging open, despite her locking it seconds before.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: The Devil appears to love terrorizing the family at night, from continually flicking on the bedroom light as Michael attempts to sleep to crawling over the father's body as Louise lays paralyzed with fear next to him.