Experiencing Interruptions?


1800’s Utah Territory. The Man (David Knell) barely survives an attack on his wagon train. Gravely injured, suffering from exposure and exhaustion, the Man is close to dead when he happens upon a lone Cowboy (John Foss). Kind and quiet, the Cowboy tends to the Man, mending his wounds and giving him water. Despite the Cowboy’s generosity, the Man begins to distrust his rescuer, and as his condition worsens, delirium and paranoia creep in. The man must decide whether to trust the Cowboy or succumb to the darkness that is closing in on him.

  • Ed McCulloch
  • Benjamin Thevenin
  • Ed McCulloch
  • Katy Drake Bettner
    Swallow, Pray Away
  • David Knell
    Key Cast
    Pig, Total Recall
  • John Foss
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Western, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 22, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Almeria Western Film Festival
    October 12, 2023
  • Utah Film Festival

    February 17, 2024
Director Biography - Ed McCulloch

No stranger to film sets, Ed McCulloch directs TV commercials around the world. WRETCHED marks his narrative debut.

“I like storytelling that’s emotional and honest,” Ed explains, “particularly stories that inspire a change in behavior. I want to make the viewer feel something, to evoke a response and help them see connections to what’s going on in their own lives. I do a lot of research into my subjects and inject my own life experience into the storytelling. I also believe strongly in collaborating, and look for that in the talent I work with. Together we make things I could never create on my own.”

Ed is a former ski instructor, Southern California car repo man, vet hospital surgery assistant and running shoe salesman. He lives with his wife and four young kids tucked up a canyon in the woods.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

WRETCHED is a deeply personal film that explores the trauma of growing up in a world where trust is scarce. For me, this began with the physical and verbal abuse I experienced daily after my mother remarried when I was just five years old. The chaos of my upbringing was compounded by the conflicting messages of the Mormon church I was raised in, leading to a sense of isolation and confusion that persisted long after my childhood ended.

At the center of WRETCHED’s story is the complicated dynamic between the two characters–while the Man is rescued from certain death by the Cowboy, he cannot shake the suspicion that his savior’s generosity masks more sinister intentions. The Man is a tragic character–traumatized, self-righteous, hysterical and eventually homicidal. The Cowboy is a mysterious figure–either the Man's rescuer or tormentor. Through their nuanced performances, we see the disastrous consequences of a world in which trust is so difficult to come by.

With WRETCHED’s visual aesthetic, I aimed to capture the experience of mistrust and loneliness that many of us feel in today's particularly divided society. The film's moody cinematography and haunting soundtrack create a world that is both recognizable and mysterious, highlighting the stark contrast between the beauty of the landscape and the Man's inner turmoil. I also incorporated visual symbolism in the film’s imagery, using elements such as the knife, burning tree, sage and looming darkness to underscore the story’s archetypal qualities.

Ultimately, WRETCHED was born out of my own pain and confusion, and creating this film has been a cathartic experience. I hope that its authenticity and emotional depth will resonate with audiences from all walks of life.