Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Wretched (2007)

Wretched is a short film about one woman’s struggle to maintain control through bulimia through her failing marriage and deepening depression. While this might seem more like a Lifetime tearjerker than a horror movie, in the able hands of writer/co-director Heidi Martinuzzi and director Leslie Delano the tale is spun as horrifyingly as possible, complete with buckets of blood effects care of Gregory Nicotero.

A married couple is sitting in a diner and enjoying a meal of burgers, fries and chocolate cake. Jenny (Jaime Andrews) seems ravenous and really digs into her meal while her husband Eric (Joe Bob Briggs) digs into her, belittling her for being “lazy” even though he knows she is depressed. Jenny excuses herself, goes to the bathroom, and forces everything she just ate back up again. She goes back and forth between the table and the bathroom, excusing herself every time her relationship starts to spiral out of control and her husband asks her pointed questions she has no answers for. Pretty soon, she herself starts losing control…with very bloody results.

Why don’t more women tackle the horror genre? If there were more women directors and writers in the genre, I believe there would be a lot more female fans out there. Then perhaps women would get more horror films that were actually relevant and catered to them, instead of the predominantly male point-of-views we usually get.

Wretched is an example of the kind of films we could get with more women behind the scenes. It was written and co-directed by horror journalist and founder of Pretty-Scary.net Heidi Martinuzzi and directed by Leslie Delano, who also made the feminist slasher Deadly Lessons. Wretched is a rare film, one that is intelligent, female-centric and extremely bloody!

The performances by Joe Bob Briggs and Jaime Andrews are pitch-perfect. Everything feels extremely realistic, especially the way the husband and wife act towards each other. Their body language shows that they have no real connection and they are completely distant from each other. Briggs and Andrews do a wonderful job portraying the unhappy couple. While Briggs’ character acts as the antagonist, constantly nagging and harassing his wife, Andrews plays Jenny with wide-eyed confusion, only feeling control when she’s upchucking in the bathroom. Very believable performances from both actors.

Another aspect that makes the film so believable (and therefore, more disturbing) is the script. The story draws you in and quickly unfolds. The characters are familiar to us (who hasn’t known a bickering couple?) and well-developed. The film also takes on the serious subjects of bulimia, depression and abusive relationships and offers a glimpse into a woman’s psyche.

Wretched is a well-written, expertly acted, thoughtfully directed and socially conscious film, but it doesn’t stop there…it also doesn’t skimp on the blood! Special FX guru Gregory Nicotero handles the blood effects in the film and he certainly doesn’t disappoint. The result is an intelligent, engaging and blood-soaked film that will hopefully encourage more women to pick up a camera and get involved in the horror genre.

WretchedOfficial Site

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