Thursday, 18 August 2016

Unspoken (2015)

“A Haunted House Story - With a Creative Twist”

Premiered at Frightfest’s Halloween event last year, director Sheldon Wilson’s UNSPOKEN (on the publicity) or THE UNSPOKEN (on the credits) or THE HAUNTING OF BRIAR HOUSE (Channel 5 last Christmas Eve, apparently) gets a Digital Download, DVD and Blu-ray release from Arrow Films.
In 1997, the police are called to the remote Briar House to find bloodstains on the crucifix-adorned walls, the family vanished, and the babysitter covered in blood and raving mad.  

Seventeen years later. Single mum Jeannie (Pascale Hutton) moves into the house with her nine year old son Adrian (Sunny Sujic). Adrian apparently hasn’t said a word since the death of his father. Jeannie enlists the help of Angela (Jodelle Ferland from TIDELAND, CABIN IN THE WOODS and SILENT HILL) to look after him.
Meanwhile, very odd things are happening. The kitchen decides to impersonate POLTERGEIST but with crockery instead of furniture, while outside, the rotting corpse of a dog comes to life and tears the chin off the gardener. Meanwhile, Angela also has trouble in the form of teen roughnecks-cum-future-boy band Luther, Rodney and the other one. They’ve stashed drugs in the house’s cellar. Their lesbian associate Pandy (Chanelle Peloso) has designs on Angela and she's despatched to pop into the cellar and get them back.

Events build to a climax and then that twist, which will probably surprise you, even if it might not be entirely satisfactory. And that’s the problem with UNSPOKEN as a whole - there are some good bits here, and lots of promise, but it doesn’t reallly hang together. The opening is great, there are some excellent moments of over-the-top melodrama, enough lurid and crazy elements to make a great Lucio Fulci flick, and more crashes, bangs and musical stingers than we’ve had the pleasure to jump to in a long while.

On the minus side, while the first half an hour is pretty good, the film starts to drag after that, and there’s a desperate need for more outrageous horror stuff to be happening here to keep up the momentum. The finale feels rushed when much more could have been made of the cat-and-mouse games around the house. It’s a shame because there are far too few decent haunted house pictures around these days, despite the plethora of same box art low rent rubbish filling the shop shelves, and even fewer that actually give you some decent bang for your buck. THE UNSPOKEN isn’t rubbish, it does give you a few decent scenes, and I thought the twist was great fun. If you fancy a modern low budget haunted house picture this is certainly one of the better ones. Arrow’s disc contains no extras. 

UNSPOKEN is out on Digital Download from 22nd August 2016 and on DVD & Blu-ray from 5th September 2016

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