Wicked, The (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 21-Mar-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-x 5 including The Wicked
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 100:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Winther
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Michael Vickerman
Devon Werkheiser
Nicole Forester
Diana Hopper
Cassie Keller
Caitlin Carmichael
Jackelyn Gauci
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Joseph LoDuca
S. Peace Nistades


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A century ago the people of a small town burnt a coven of witches at the stake. Apparently one escaped, and there is a story passed down through the generations of The Wicked: a witch who lives in the old house in the woods and abducts and eats children in order to stay young and beautiful. A dare among the youths and children of the town is to go into the woods and throw a stone at the outside of the old house; if the stone breaks a window the witch will get you. Most think that this is a tale to frighten children; and then seven year old Amanda is swept out of her bedroom window by an unseen force in front of her mother.

     A few days later a group of teenagers decide to go camping in the woods near the old house. They are Zack (Justin Deeley), his best friend Carter (Chase Maser), Carter’s girlfriend Tracy (Jackelyn Gauci) and new girl in town Julie (Jess Adams). Of course they go to the house to throw stones, and one of them breaks a window. Rather spooked, they hurry back to their campsite. Zack is not aware that his younger brother Max (Devon Werkheiser) and his young tom-boy friend with attitude Sammy (Diana Hooper) have followed the others out into the woods. Max and Sammy also throw a stone at the house, and Max breaks a window. And then they see the witch!

     Back in the campsite Julie finds a teddy bear belonging to the missing girl Amanda. They of course investigate and Julie and Zack enter the old house and in the basement they find Amanda tied up and covered in a cocoon like wrapping. Freeing Amanda they break out of the house, but the witch is not so easily escaped. Can the teens save themselves before they are killed and eaten by The Wicked.

     The Wicked is a low budget variation on the teens in peril in a haunted house theme. There is nothing particularly new or innovative here although the first 60 minutes are nicely done. There is no real mystery, for right from the start we get a POV of the witch and a park ranger is murdered. Yet the film handles the build-up well and of course teens investigating an old house, and going down into the basement to investigate spooky noises, is always good for a scare. Once the witch is revealed and some of the teens are captured and cocooned in the basement awaiting dismemberment and eating, the last 40 minutes of the film changes momentum into more of a chase with horror elements; this still has some tense and exciting moments but it never quite lives up to the opening hour. There is gore in this section, but it is never overdone or gratuitous. The young good looking cast are fine, especially Devon Werkheiser and Diana Hooper while Jamie Kaler provides some comic relief as Deputy Carl.

     The Wicked looks good, delivers tension and a number of scares. It has reasonable acting from the young good looking cast and it retains a sense of humour that is refreshing. The last half of the film becomes more a succession of escapes and recaptures, and The Wicked is fairly predictable, but it is by no means the worst example of the teens in peril in the woods genre you will see.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Wicked is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original ratio being 1.85:1, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a print of two halves. The daylight scenes in the first half of the film have wonderful colours, especially greens, and are sharp and finely detailed. There is a little ghosting with movement against surfaces such as the grass, but artefacts are otherwise absent. The night scenes later in the film are less sharp and, not surprisingly, have less colour. Night exteriors by the lake are good but a number of scenes inside the dark house do show digital noise reduction to various degrees. Blacks, however, are good and shadow detail fine. Brightness and contrast throughout the film is consistent, except the blurry POV of the witch which is intentional.

     There are no subtitles.

     The video is only 1080i but is good except for some digital noise in some dark sequences.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. In other words, this Blu-ray does not have lossless audio.

     Some of the dialogue can be a bit hard to hear, but the sense is always clear. The surrounds are well utilised with sound design effects, music and the ephemeral “voice” of the witch. Footsteps on the floorboards overhead, rustling in the bushes and screams are rendered in an effective manner. The sub-woofer gave appropriate support to the music and effects.

     The music score by Joseph LoDuc and S. Peace Nistades was fairly obvious and used to build tension. There were a few added pop songs used to underscore the relationship between Max and Sammy that were a little too cute.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     Despite the lack of a lossless audio track, this is an impressive enveloping audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Making of The Wicked (13:13)

     Pretty much an EPK and everyone had a great time and believed they were making something special, not just a teen / horror film. Some footage of a production meeting and on the set footage plus interview snippets with Marvin Towns Jr. and Couni Young (producers), Michael Vickerman (writer), Peter Winther (director) and cast Devon Werkheiser, Diana Hopper, Robert Young, Chase Maser, Jackelyn Gauci, Jess Adams, Cassie Keller and Justin Deeley, all in 13 minutes.

Trailers

     Trailers for Hello I Must Be Going (2:18), In Their Skin (2:02), You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2:24), Four Assassins (1:30) and The Wicked (2:07) can be selected from the menu. The first four also play on start-up.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region B UK Blu-ray is not due to be released until 10 June 2013. A Region 1 US DVD is due out at the end of April 2013, but no Blu-ray is listed. I can see no reason to wait unless the UK release will be in 1080p.

Summary

     The Wicked looks good, delivers tension and a number of scares, has reasonable acting and retains a sense of humour. The Wicked is fairly predictable but it is by no means the worst example of the teens in peril in the woods genre you will see. The film is entertaining and worth of look for those interested in the genre.

     The video is 1080i, the audio is not lossless but is still very good. The one extra is an EPK piece that is worth watching once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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