Powered by Blogger.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Review: The Unfamiliar

Director: Henk Pretorius
Screenplay: Henk Pretorius and Jennifer Nicole Stang
Year: 2020

An army doctor returns home after being active in warfare. At her return, she starts experimenting strange happenings in her house that leads her to think she has PTSD. However, as she keeps investigating the events, she becomes increasingly more convinced that there are dangerous forces involved that make the things she used to know to feel unfamiliar. 

The plot of “The Unfamiliar” starts exactly at the beginning of the movie without any character development or establishing the problem. This strategy can be a double-edged weapon, as it can be useful to overcome boring sections of the development, but at the same time, it prevents the viewer from knowing and empathizing with the characters and that it grows interested in their outcome.

In general, the whole movie suffers from the same problem of adding ideas and situations with little development that end up not being necessary for the plot and that are given no continuity. This only achieves that the movie feels like a collection of ideas that someone had for a horror movie, and that was forcefully tied in, with the plot playing a secondary part with the sole purpose of moving through the ideas. As a consequence, the viewer finds itself jumping from situation to situation, confused about how they affect the plot and not knowing where it is going.

As a horror movie, “The Unfamiliar” doesn’t offer much. On the positive side, the plot uses elements from Hawaiian folklore and has some interesting reveals that leads to thinking why some unnecessary parts weren’t ditched, and more time was devoted to exploring these aspects. On the other hand, the horror scenes are nothing more than clichés we frequently see in the genre, along with some cheap jump scares. 

The technical aspect is where “The Unfamiliar” has the least amount of issues. The shots showcase good photography, especially the outside shots, and they are well used to play around with the tone and atmosphere and highlight the horror moments. The acting is not spectacular, but it neither degrades the quality of the movie.

“The Unfamiliar” presents some ideas worthy of being explored more deeply, but the unfocused approach used to develop the movie only achieves that the viewer becomes confused about where the plot is heading and loses interest. As a horror movie, the good ideas it has are hindered by the nonsensical scenes and the cheap jump scares. The film improves substantially in the third act, but at this moment, the harm by its lack of focus has been already done.

No comments:

Post a Comment