When a little girl dies, her family gathers to mourn the loss. Yet, the pain is not forgotten, and a vengeful demon spirit takes possession of a vulnerable family member, tearing at the ties that bind them all together. One by one, it forces each family member to confess to his or her buried lies and face the morbid consequences of their sins.
THE WICKED WITHIN is a possession film, which begins with a family who has gathered to signify a 1 year anniversary. In the film, Hannah's family, which includes; her Mother Jean, sister Bethany, Bethany's husband Luke, as well has her husband, Michael. They have all gathered to remember Bethany and Michael's 4 year old daughter, Emma, who died a year ago, following an accident. The reunion is anything but easy going, and pleasant, as the family has often had their differences causing them to be strained. However their bond would be further tested when a supernatural presence makes its presence felt within the house, specifically in the bedroom of the little girl. The family is shocked to find that Bethany, seems to have come under the possession of a demonic spirit. In a frantic state, the family looks for answers as they call on a psychic as well as a priest. However, meanwhile, the demonic entity threatens the livelihood of the family, as it pulls back the curtain, and reveals a few of the family's innermost secrets and sins. Told in both past and present, THE WICKED WITHIN alternates between scenes of a past event, as well as the present, as a Police Detective looks to piece together information as he interviews the subjects involved in the event.
THE WICKED WITHIN is the third film in this years After Dark Horror Fest that I have seen so far, and it is of the generic possession film variety. It is one that gets off to a start that is sort of odd, yet unique, as it mixes straight drama, with that of a more supernatural fantasy element, The result, is initially something strange, before it more or less, settles in, before going into all too familiar territory. In fact, this film, really is no different than countless others that we have seen since the release of THE EXORCIST in 1976. Who do demonics spirits normally target? They target the vulnerable, right? Well, in THE WICKED WITHIN, Bethanny, the sister of Hannah, the woman who lost her child, has a history of drug use and depression, so of course, the demonic entity uses her as a vessel. After Bethany's possession, it's pretty much the same procedural Exorcism film that we always see. Complete with a priest, "The Power of Christ compels you!, and all. Oh, and with a psychic thrown in for good measure. THE WICKED WITHIN offers little to nothing new as it seems to carefully color within the lines. To its credit however, the film does attempt to end on a high note, as it throws at us, a twist, that it hopes shocks us. The problem is that, up until that point, there had not been anything to really keep our interest up(at least mine). There are no unexpected plot points, no real surprises, so when it comes time to really surprise us, the film's twist, essentially falls flat.
As for the acting, it also, is not very interesting. Aside from, Karen Austin who portrays the family's outspoken matriarch, "Jean", and Sienna Guillory, who is "Bethany", the one possessed, none of the characters seem to possess any energy of their own. Instead, they are simply plain ideas of characters, who have little to no influence in the overall story. Yes, Guillory is ok, but what she has to work with here, the the most generic of its kind.
As mentioned above THE WICKED WITHIN started off in a manner in which I gave a chance, as it was somewhat interesting/strange enough. However it wasn't long before it settled into the same old tired exorcism movie that we always get. It is so much like everything else, that it even resorts to referencing THE EXORCIST at one point, as an obvious attempt to credit itself. Unfortunately, any seasoned fan of Horror will be quick to notice that THE WICKED WITHIN is not unlike any other film of its type. And no, not even its twist of an ending, can save it from its overall blandness.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Despite having an ok start, in the end, THE WICKED WITHIN ends up being just another exorcism movie. That's basically it. Despite seeming to want the relay a message about morals and such, it all just ends up being bland, leaving barely a mark upon the viewer, despite going out of its way, in a last ditch effort to claim some of its own originality with its twist ending.