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Wicked Ones (2020) Review

Wicked Ones is a sequel to director Tory Jones’ (The Killbillies. Angel)  2017 film Wicked One. He and co-writer Nathan Thomas Milline open with two survivors of Colin Miller’s original rampage in Carpenter Falls being interviewed and then, later that day, hacked to death by their own children, who are promptly arrested. The film then jumps ahead ten years which would be 2027, does that make it a science fiction film as well?

Adam (Dale Miller, Last American Horror Show, Loss Prevention) and Alex Lawson (Katie Stewart, Mom and Dad, 13 Slays Till X-Mas), who also survived the original, are driving their son Daniel (Skyler Guthrie, Watching Over You, Stage Fright) to his band’s gig which means returning to Carpenter Falls and bringing daughters Kendall (Morgan Pyle, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, He Knows) and Jenna (Brandi Botkin, St. Gabriel, Wildfire) along for the ride as well.

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Jones and Milline give Wicked Ones a fairly standard slasher sequel set up, Alex is seeing a ghostly woman, and Officer Burke (James Tackett, The Fall of Usher, United We Fall) is obsessing over his feelings that Miller is still alive. And Miller (Richard Leo Hunt, The Silent Natural, Summer of ‘67) is not only alive, he ambushes the police van carrying the now grown kids from the prologue Myles (Jason Crowe, The Bloody Man, The Bad Man) and Madeline (Roni Jonah, Bigfoot Exorcist, Powerbomb) to show the world that killing can be a team sport.

That said, I didn’t really have a lot of problems following the story even though I hadn’t seen The Wicked One, it’s available on Tubi if you want to check it out while you wait for the sequel’s release. Probably because, apart from a few details, Wicked Ones doesn’t lean that heavily on it. It concentrates mostly on Daniel, Jenna, and the guys in the band trying to get laid and getting killed instead.

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There is a fairly large body count and some nasty deaths, including one character dumb enough to try to rub one out in a cemetery, with a black cat nearby no less. But Wicked Ones keeps much of the actual gore off-screen, and some of what we do see is telegraphed during the opening credits in scenes I thought were from the first film.

While not overly innovative, the trio of killers adds a bit of variety to the formula with the psychotic siblings acting as a contrast to the silent, Json Voorhees like Miller. They’re also much more disturbed, especially Myles, who has a thing for rape and necrophilia. If there is a third film, having it revolve around them might be a better idea than bringing Miller back yet again.

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Apart from the lack of gore, my only real complaint about Wicked Ones are the usual huge lapses of logic we see in these films. Nobody seems to have noticed that the van carrying Myles and Madeline never arrived. And just how, unless he has some kind of psychic powers, did Miller know they were in the van to begin with?

An acceptable, middle-of-the-pack slasher, Wicked One benefits greatly from Jason Crowe’s talent for playing twisted characters. His portrayal of Myles gives the film an extra edge that helps it rise above its more generic elements. It may not keep you on the edge of your seat, but you won’t feel like wandering off to check the fridge for snacks every ten minutes, either.

Wild Eye Releasing will make Wicked Ones available on VOD and Digital platforms on September 13th. A special edition Blu-ray is planned for November 8th. You can check the film’s Facebook page or the production company’s website for more details. You can also check out FilmTagger for suggestions for similar films.

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