Movie Review: The Unseen (2016)

February 19, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Bob Langmore (Aden Young); deadbeat dad, lumber mill worker, partially invisible…what, what the fuck now?!! Yeah, ol’ Bob made like a fuckin’ banana and split, leaving his wife Darlene (Camille Sutherland) and rebellious teen daughter Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) in his wake…to say nothing of a promising hockey career…to start over in a remote Canadian town. Why did he leave all that behind? Because he is slowly, painfully. turning invisible, which admittedly would tax the ol’ noggin a bit…and lately that “slowly” part is starting to speed up exponentially.

Before long, Darlene calls Bob home to help wrangle in their daughter…but there’s one small problem; she goes missing, and Bob doesn’t take kindly to that, so he sets off on a mission of vengeance to find her…all before he vanishes altogether.

The Unseen is a unique take on the whole “invisible man” trope. For one thing we get the troubled every man who is dealing with an outre condition (the nature of which could result from some sort of genetic anomaly or ancient Chinese secret) dealing with a fucked up home life. This isn’t your standard “scientist invents a way to turn invisible and runs amok” fracas that the genre usually offers; rather this is equal parts drama and body horror (though that does come with some baggage as discussed below)…and the whole transformation process is painful…like a cancer, and ravages Bob’s body thoroughly.

Speaking of Bob, Young plays the part to perfection…all pain and regret-fueled torment boiling just under the surface and ready to explode at a moments notice as his failure as a family man and deteriorating condition eats away at him. Credit of course must be given to seasoned effects artist Geoff Redknap (whom also wrote and directed the picture) for providing an incredible array of techniques that present a thrilling take on a man slowly turning see-thru, while showing a shit-ton of restraint…things aren’t over-the-top, or ultra-gory, but what is shown is incredibly effective (and downright Cronenbergian in Act Three).

Adding to the atmosphere is a rather dreary, snow covered, small town setting that covers everything with cold skies and an almost tangible sense of sorrow…and adds a sense of realism to the whole affair, which brings us to that baggage mentioned above…

The Unseen is primarily a drama rather than a fright flick; and that invisibility is a metaphor for the loss of self Bob is experiencing as a man and father…which all leads to some slow going for us slapping eerie eyeballs on the film. While never flat-out boring, this pic is nevertheless talky and full of sad-sackery, and can lead to some lead ass, so be aware of that before you start watching.

Bottom line; despite it’s slow pace, The Unseen is a pretty fantastic flick, deftly blending family drama and solid fright flick tropes into a ghoulish goulash that I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you cats n’ creeps to lay your putrid peepers on post-haste!



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