Not Approved

Wicked Spring

During the 1864 battle of the Wilderness, three Union soldiers and three Confederate Soldiers get seperated from their units as twilight engulfs the ravaged battlefield. The men wander alone through the dangerous woods, separate of each other, until they meet by chance on the banks of a quiet creek. The men meet and spend the night around a campfire, not realizing they are enemies until the next morning when the sun rises and a new day of battle begins.
Negative Rating
Positive Rating

Dove Review

In the heat of the Civil War, six soldiers test the boundaries of friendship and loyalty. It is May 1864 during the Battle of the Wilderness. Lovelorn and homesick Harrison (Brian Merrick), a Confederate soldier, and his boorish acquaintance, James (Terry Jernigan) are separated from their unit in the heat of bloody battle. Exhausted and fearful, they dive deeper into the wilderness to seek comfort for the night. On their journey, they stumble across a fellow soldier, young and eager After Stand (Aaron Jackson), and the three men make their way through the dark Virginia forest. By happenstance, the trio meets another group of weary soldiers: logical and refined John (DJ Perry), sticky-fingered Augustus (Curtis Hall) and critically injured Pietro (Mark Lacy). Together the men spend the night sharing stories and bonding over rations. Until sunlight, when they discover they are fighting on opposite sides. As the fire dies down and the sun comes up, the group must return to reality: are we friend, or foe?

This heartbreaking drama is as compelling as it is gritty. The film is true to the era, and viewers are transported to the horrific life of a Civil War soldier. The fighting and chaos are unsettling, which makes the main plot of the film such a relief. When the soldiers break for the night, we are given a gift of their story, a break from toil and pain – the sense of normalcy that comes from two simple men swapping stories by a fire. As the story unfolds, the characters cease being warriors on opposite sides and become what they are; two men, equal, flawed and bare. The tragic ending is a demonstration of true brotherhood and sacrifice. Surprisingly touching and incredibly thought-provoking, Wicked Spring is a pleasantly different kind of war film.

The fantastic plot, impressive composition and period authenticity are a huge credit to the film. Nevertheless, Wicked Spring falls short in one major area: content. It seems that more time and effort was put into highlighting the violence of the battle than to explore the main subject of the film. The beginning of the film is a bit slow and dull, but the bulk of the film is spent in battle, with gunshots, explosions, and expletives galore. There is little character development, and therefore little time is spent on the events of the evening together and the aftermath. At times the film can be slow moving or hard to follow, so the viewer is very dependent on scarce dialogue to make sense of what is going on.

Overall, once you get past the gore, Wicked Spring is a fine film with an important message. However, due to the excessive language and frequent graphic violence, we cannot award Wicked Spring the Dove Seal of Approval.

Dove Rating Details


A soldier reads a passage of scripture; a character mentions that certain behavior is “not Christian”


Gratuitous violence throughout; dead bodies, fistfights, characters hit each other with objects, closeups of bloody wounds, bayonet stabbing, explosions and guns are visible constantly


A husband and wife kiss; a kiss on the hand


OMG/Christ/Jesus (as an exclamation) – 5; GD – 5; h*ll – 9; sh** - 2; d*mn – 5; a** - 3; other derogatory language such as “whore,” “shut up,” “fool,” “devil,” and “cracker”


Gratuitous violence throughout; dead bodies, fistfights, characters hit each other with objects, closeups of bloody wounds, bayonet stabbing, explosions and guns are visible constantly


Tobacco use throughout (via pipe and chewing)


A shirtless man is seen


A scene in which it is implied a man is urinating; a scene of childbirth; a character habitually steals

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