Religious horror and thriller movies are a dime a dozen these days. Ever since “The Exorcist” hit screens in 1973, the world has been in a state of satanic panic. There’s always a constant flow of possession or devil-baby flicks being released in the independent world of horror and touched upon in the mainstream at least once every six months or so. Some of them rise above the standard fare, while others fizzle out and are forgotten. “Way of the Wicked” falls short of being memorable by offering nothing new to audiences.
Robbie (Jake Croker) is a disturbed young teen suspected of causing a mysterious death. After five years, he returns to his hometown to start anew. Still pining for the local police detective’s (Vinnie Jones) daughter Heather (Emily Tennant), he befriends her and incurs the wrath of the girl’s popular schoolmates and suitor. They begin turning up dead as each torments Robbie and bothers his love interest. Can Father Henry (Christian Slater) use the powers of his faith to stop the killings?
“Way of the Wicked” plays out like a mashed-up version of “Carrie” and “The Omen.” Although the image used to promote the movie screams “The Exorcist,” what viewers find inside is a hodge-podge of elements taken from other films featuring teens with telekinetic powers. The only tie to religious thrillers is a prophecy Father Henry is investigating. Upon first viewing, it’s vague whether the foretelling is from the Bible or another book associated with it. I doubt anyone would want to view it a second time just to catch whether it’s one or the other.
The acting in “Way of the Wicked” never comes into question. Both Vinnie Jones and Christian Slater act like they’re personally invested in the film. Emily Tennant does a great job emoting as Heather. Jake Croker is absolutely creepy as Robbie. His performance and haunting stare made my skin crawl.
“Way of the Wicked” is unrated. It features violence, adult situations, and language. Viewers don’t have to sit through any unnecessary nude scenes. I can see this airing on the Chiller Channel on a Friday or Saturday night.
Even “Way of the Wicked’s” attempt at a twist ending ends up falling flat. It just makes the whole thing more of a copycat of past movies much better than this. Even though you don’t see it coming and it’s well-delivered, you still are left with a sense of déjà vu as the credits roll. I can think of films that are a bigger waste of time, but you’d still be better off re-watching “Carrie,” “Firestarter,” or “The Omen.”
“Way of the Wicked” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.
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