There are good actors with bad scripts and then there are horrible actors with even worse scripts. More than half of the cast in Aaron Strey’s atrocious ‘horror’ movie The Wraith Within fall in the latter section. The only actor who seems moderately capable of delivering the horrendously bad lines is “Species” veteran Michael Madsen, although it seems the better days of his career are ancient history. Overweight and sickly, Madsen tries his best on a minuscule budget, and terrible direction, while his cast members try outperforming each other in who can be the worse actor in this Dollar Tree Evil Dead flick. This is one such movie that we can’t even recommend for a C-list marathon with your friends, and this is one dumpster fire you should avoid. Go through the breakdown of this sordid excuse for a horror film and decide why The Wraith Within is best skipped.
What Happened At The Cutter Farm?
Perhaps the only good thing about the movie is the mother-daughter picnic in the woods that starts it. The scene is picturesque, and the 1950s look really gives off a Pride and Prejudice aura, but things turn bad real soon. The little girl’s stepfather kills her mother, and as Ami tries to flee, he impales her with a pitchfork. I mean, he literally throws the tool like a javelin in the Olympic Games, and it’s hilarious how this becomes a common theme in the rest of the film. After killing his wife and stepdaughter, Cutter drinks by the river where he dumped Ami’s body, with the pitchfork still lodged in her until the body starts moving. Sure enough, Ami rises in her ‘wraith’ form and impales Cutter from behind.
Why Did The Friends Arrive In Junction, Texas?
It’s 2022, and five friends arrive in their hometown of Junction, Texas, and we all know where this is heading. Aaron and Jennifer are in a relationship, while the annoyingly rude Cory and the goody-two-shoes Bret seem at odds for no apparent reason, and Leyla, with her horrible accent, is mad at everyone. The friends are back in town because of their high school reunion, where all the classmates will get together, but let’s just clarify at the start: the makers don’t even bother showing the reunion later on. Instead, it’s just more bad acting and rushing through the plot to wrap everything up within an hour and 17 minutes.
Leyla and Jennifer visit an antique shop to meet their old classmate Annie, and Leyla just goes off at the shopkeeper, and the bad blood between the two women isn’t convincing. Instead, it’s just the characters reading their lines off to each other without putting in the bare minimum effort to make any of it seem convincing. Suddenly, Bret barges in, enthusiastic to meet Annie, and knocks over an obviously cursed suitcase. Annie hurriedly sells it to the unsuspecting Bret for $200 on the paper-thin excuse that he broke it, so now it’s his, but how does anyone even buy that ridiculous logic? But then again, if logic had been followed, the movie wouldn’t have happened. Bret opens the suitcase to find a dirty old teddy bear inside and decides to carry it with them because he paid $200 for it.
While driving to Leyla’s place, Aaron’s car is stopped by Sheriff Townsend (Madsen) for speeding. On a side note, Madsen is 64 but looks not a day younger than 90. No wonder they didn’t let Madsen do much, lest he have a heart attack on set. The Sheriff lets them go quickly, and anyone could tell this little interaction was to introduce the audience to the only popular name in this cast of ‘Who’s that?’
How Do The Supernatural Activities Start?
After stepping into Leyla’s old home, the bear oddly starts appearing everywhere, and it seems like it’s staring at the people inside the house. Aaron proposes to Jennifer, and later on, a flying shampoo bottle scares her. The next morning, a knife falls next to Bret, and Cory’s vodka bottle is smashed. That’s all the clues they need to conclude the gross teddy bear might be behind these oddities and decide to accost Annie before the reunion regarding the bear. Annie gives up the name of Jim Ravenweather, from whom they’d bought the suitcase in exchange for $100, and the friends head to the party while Annie needs to go inside the shop for her phone. However, once inside, some noises from the basement make her sneak downstairs with a plan to “Jaime Lee Curtis” whoever’s hiding down there with her handgun, only to get impaled by the wraith of Ami Cutter.
At the reunion, or rather, on the street outside the building where the reunion is supposedly happening, Cory and Bret get into a fight, and Bret’s childhood friend Jon takes him away, while Leyla decides to call it a night too. While parking Jon’s car at the garage of Leyla’s place, Bret and him get to talking, and Jon is about to propose something intimate when the wraith impales him and strangles Bret. After finishing her shower, Leyla decides to visit the two men, only to find them dead. She’s then chased by the wraith, who finally pulls her inside a shack, and we can guess her fate afterward.
What Do The Survivors Discover About The Bear?
As the Sheriff makes one-liners about the death of Annie and the comically arrogant Mayor demands that Townsend clean up the mess, Aaron, Jennifer, and Cory return to find the bodies of their friends. Cory spots the wraith, and she throws the pickaxe at him, but her aim is a little off this time. Suddenly, Cory is overwhelmed with love for the deceased Bret and his ex, Leyla, and the trio decides to run to Ravenweather’s house with the bear.
Ravenweather’s prickly grandson Benji allows them to meet the old Native American man, and after a little obvious refusal to help, Jim ends up telling the story. Apparently, Jim and Ami were friends as kids, and on the fateful day of her death, he witnessed Cutter kill Ami. Jim returned the next day to find Ami’s soul come back as a wraith only to exact vengeance on her stepfather and disappeared afterwards, leaving the teddy bear, so he did what any sane person would. Not burn or bury this cursed memento, but bring it home and keep it in a suitcase for three decades before selling it. He also reveals that Ami’s wraith needs to make a connection with her lineage, which turns out to be (surprise) Jillian. Ami’s mother had an affair with Jillian’s grandfather, so now Ami’s wraith will possess Jillian’s body to stay in this world. The only way to get rid of this curse will be to bury the bear in a cemetery, but upon noticing that they’ve brought the bear to his house, Ravenweather demands that the trio leave. Soon after, the wraith impales Benji and Jim.
Is The Curse Of Ami Cutter Lifted?
While running through the town, the trio requests the help of a farmer, who’s killed by Ami’s wraith. Cory follows, and soon Jennifer is overtaken by the wraith. She tries to kill Aaron, but he pleads with her to fight the evil, and she returns momentarily to request that he end her life. Finally, he ends up impaling her with the pitchfork. At the station, Aaron is arrested, and the Mayor barges in, demanding that the blame be laid on Aaron to keep the town free of negative publicity. Sheriff Townsend says he’ll do what’s asked of him, but we don’t see what he actually does. Instead, outside the station, he spots the wraith of Ami Cutter. Meanwhile, the Deputy plans to sell the cursed teddy bear for $500. It seems from the ending that even the director wanted to be done with the travesty he’d started. All we can say is that Jennifer is killed, Aaron’s fate remains unknown, and the wraith of Ami Cutter isn’t put to rest. Based on what the Sheriff saw, obviously, the curse wasn’t lifted, and the wraith will travel to wherever the Deputy sells the bear. However, based on how atrocious this ‘horror’ film was, you’d be better off not bothering with what happened afterward.