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Film / The Wretched

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The Wretched is a 2019 horror film.

Teenaged Ben (John-Paul Howard) comes for holidays to visit his soon-to-be-divorced father, who works at a marina and gets Ben the job at the same place. Dealing with rude customers, a broken arm and a coworked incensed about nepotism landing Ben the job is trouble enough, but that's before he discovers that something distinctly odd is happening at his neightbors' house. It would seem that after a trip to the nearby woods, the family's mother, Abby (Zarah Mahler) has began to act strange. Almost like she's not herself...

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Tropes found in the film include:

  • Adult Fear: A monster is after your children and you are completely helpless to defend them because of its ability to tamper with your memories.
  • Binocular Shot: Ben sometimes spies on the neighboring house.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Even though Polaroids are considered obsolete in the age of digital & camera phones, one still turns up to serve this function, and not just in the opening prologue set in the 80s.
  • Body Horror: The people "inhabited" by the witch begin to rapidly decay, with skin growing floppy and peeling off.
  • Car Fu: Specifically, Liam's car against a tree.
  • Child Eater: Seemingly the preferred choice of food, given that they are usually the one person spared from memory wipes.
  • Dying as Yourself: A victim of mind-control manages to obtain enough control to commit suicide and avoid the act he's otherwise being compelled to commit.
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  • The End... Or Is It?: Ben has killed the witch, saved the day and departs with a kiss and flower from Mallory. Except by the end he notices the flower is fake and Mallory is out on a boat with children, implying that the witch is possessing her ...
  • Evil Smells Bad: The Witch has a noticeable odor that seems to follow it around. Not even possessing someone can get rid of it.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: Both the initially normal home converted to an evil lair, and a location which has presumably been an evil lair for a long time.
  • Fake Memories: The Witch "feeds on the forgotten," meaning that she erases the existence of her victims from the memories of their friends and families.
  • Fighting from the Inside: One victim of mind-control manages this.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a scene in the movie when the Neighbor's kid hides in Ben's home, and The Witch comes looking for him. Ben denies that the kid is there, saying it's "just us." Even though his father isn't home, and the Witch knows that Ben should have said "just me," she doesn't correct him on that. This foreshadows the existence of Nathan, Ben's younger brother that had been erased from Ben's memory.
    • Likewise, a scene where Ben dreams of his head being forced underwater turns out to be prophetic..
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  • I'm a Humanitarian: If we consider the creature to be a human, as it does at least look humanoid.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Hard.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: The crying baby at the neighbors causes this for them.
  • Kill and Replace: Seemingly only toward women, while men who might oppose the villain are more often mind-controlled.
  • Kill It with Fire: Ben soaks the tree in gasoline for specifically this reason.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: "Feeding on the forgotten" here means first making families forget about their kids.
  • Meat Puppet: The Wretched doesn't possess hosts in the conventional sense - instead, it actually enters their body and controls them from the inside. It seems capable of doing this with large animals as well as humans.
  • Mind Control: Whispering into a man's ear causes this, along with blood trickling out.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After Nathan's existence is remembered by Ben, several earlier scenes play, only this time Nathan is visible in the shot.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: A vegan pouring milk into coffee tips Ben off about who he's interacting with.
  • Reality Ensues: While the witch is capable of erasing the existence of the people she eats from the memories of everyone who knew them, this doesn't erase any physical evidence, so she has to dispose of that, as it could potentially cause the memories to come back.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Justified. Ben and the other family members had their memories of Nathan erased, so no one could remember that he existed until Ben saw Nathan's name on his cast.
  • Salt Solution: A trail of it serves as a boundary against the creature, and she's also quite averse to having any thrown at her.
  • Supernatural Repellent: Salt.
  • The Peeping Tom: Ben's spying includes the neighbor couple getting frisky.
  • Uncanny Valley: Replaced victims have distinctly "off" appearances, looking up close as if they're made of plaster.
  • Walking Wasteland: The witch's presence causes plant life to die. Hence Ben's sudden horror when he sees the flower Mallory left with him by the end is fake. This also applies to the bodies that the Witch possesses. They all start to rot and fall apart after a short time.
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