Sunday, July 2, 2023

The Unseen: Movie Review

The Unseen is an indie horror. This is a difficult movie to get into with a very minimal production budget and effects that (purposely?) mimic 1950s horror stuff; it looks amateur-ish and is probably only meant for the most forgiving horror fans. Presumably the world it presents is supposed to be a normal family in a normal city, and then start the creepy hints that things aren’t right.   2023

Directed by: Vincent Shade

Screenplay by: Jennifer A. Goodman

Starring: RJ Mitte, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn

A big problem is that this never looks like a normal family in a normal city. Everything is weird all the time. Horror films tend to work better if they can make the audience feel comfortable and then start twisting things upside down. There is no comfort level here at all. For the first hour and a quarter you’re just watching weird people act in unexplained weird ways waiting for the explanation. And while there is an ending and an explanation to what was happening, it doesn’t feel satisfying or interesting since nothing that happens before it is interesting.

Tommy (RJ Mitte) is graduating from law school and gets into an argument with his little sister about who is leaching off their parents more. First off, they’re both students; Kali is starting undergrad and Tommy has cerebral palsy and hasn’t finished law school yet. It seems reasonable for them both to be living at home. Their mother then says Tommy has to get a job now and he replies he has to pass the bar first. That’s not true, but then he immediately goes out and gets a job, and from here on we ignore that he’s still a student.

He of course gets a job at a really weird law firm. It’s hard to describe because there is nothing logical about anything that sets up the plot. He has a hostile boss who assigns him work with no real directions, but he does it anyways, and has coworkers who may or may not exist.

Lots of standard horror elements are present: people who see things that aren’t really there, some characters have eyes that roll into the back of their heads, unexplained violent outbursts, some random murders in the city that are about to become connected, and flashbacks to a high school bully. It’s creepy throughout the movie.

It does have a coherent ending and everything eventually gets explained, but at no point do you get wrapped up in the story. The entire movie is just waiting for the final 15 minutes when things get explained. The Unseen is not interesting enough to make all that waiting worth it.