Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Unhinged (2017)



Dan Allen
Scott Jeffrey


Kate Lister
Lucy-Jane Quinlan
Becca Hirani
Lorena Andrea
Michelle Archer
Zak Russell-Jones


When four friends who are celebrating one of them getting married. This bridal party is taking a road trip through the backcountry of England on their way to the wedding. When they are involved in a terrifying incident with a strange man and end up having car troubles. They come across a secluded house and decide to stop for help. It's sole resident, Miss Perkins offers them shelter, food, and a place to stay until help arrives. Something far more sinister awaits the four friends.

When I first came across Unhinged, I had never heard of this movie. Reading up on it, I discovered that this was in fact, a remake of a Video Nasty from the eighties. Never seeing the original film, myself. I cannot compare these two stories, I shall only judge the remake on its own merits. With this latest attempt at remaking a slasher from the decade that basically solidified the slasher genre. I believe they missed the mark. The eighties was the quintessential period of the slasher, and sadly, this latest update was a swing and a miss.

From my understanding, the two films both have the same basic setup as a group of friends have car troubles and come upon a house where something terrible befalls all of them. I think in the original, the group of friends have a car accident as opposed to car troubles, and the house that they come upon is a family and not a single spinster. Other than that, I don't know how wildly different the movies are beyond these small changes at the beginning of the film. I wonder how violent the original is if it secured a spot on the notorious video nasties list?

If Unhinged does anything right, it's that it wastes no time in throwing the audience straight into the deep end. The movie opens with a woman having her throat sliced with a pair of garden shears as her child watches on. Does this opening scene have any real connection to the rest of the film or characters? Not at all. Will you be left with a lot of unanswered questions throughout the running time? Probably. I think this all falls back on the writing. I'm not sure if the original flick feels as disjointed and uneven as this film does here. That is unknown until I sit down and watch it.

We go from a mother being tortured in front of her daughter to this bridal party who are suddenly stalked and attacked on a deserted road by a strange man in the rural English countryside. This sets into motion our characters coming across Miss Perkins. An utterly bizarre but welcoming middle-aged woman who loves her gardening while offering refuge to strangers. From this moment on, the movie goes from zero to one hundred when a maniac who is wielding a pair of garden shears, while wearing this haggard face mask and donning a wedding dress shows up.

The problem that I have with Unhinged is that it feels really rushed. I think this falls back on the editing. Once our maniac starts picking off the bridal party, one by one. The way this thing plays out feels really choppy. One victim appears to be repeatedly stabbed with shears only to be strung up in the next shot where she is tortured. Later on, she shows back up and is alive. Another woman is buried alive by the killer in one shot, and when she is later found by her friends, her body is now half hanging out of a grave. No one seems to care about continuity here.

If it's not our bridal party characters coming and going or being dead then alive with no resolution. It's that third act twist and reveal of the killer. It's not at all a surprise or shock at who the killer turns out to be here. In the Grudge-like attic reveal we are shown who the killer turns out to be, and I had guessed it from the moment that this person steps on screen. What they try to do with it is an M. Night Shyamalan type of twist where the killer has some form of a split personality disorder and can alter their voice to throw the audience off, but I felt like it's a case of 'seen it all before'.

Is Unhinged at all scary? I didn't find it creepy. The film is more about the stalk and slash element, and it feels very much in the vein of a Torture Porn than an outright scary and suspenseful slasher. I'm sure some of the scenes of torture and gore may end up shocking some viewers, but I think due to it's lower budget and limited set-pieces hurt this more than they offer up tension or suspense. As I had stated above, due to the way the horror-orientated moments are edited, I feel they also kill a lot of the tension in the story.

Lastly, we come to the performances. I think for such a low-budget horror movie. I found that all five of the actresses were above average in their delivery. It's just sad that all of the characters were written to be so unlikeable. We have this odd subplot about two of the bridal party hooking up and being possible love interests that goes nowhere. It feels like it's just there to add a lesbian sex scene. Another issue which hinders the acting is that all of these people are written continuously to be idiotic and make frustrating character decisions. 



- A woman's head is severed with a pair of garden shears.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach with garden shears.
- A man is repeatedly hit in the head with a rock.
- A woman has her foot almost severed with a shovel.
- A woman is smacked in the head with a shovel, splitting her head open.
- A woman is bitten on the arm.
- Two women fight and fall off a balcony.
- A woman has petrol poured down her throat and lips sewn shut.
- A woman is hit in the head and back with a metal rake.
- A woman is buried alive.
- A woman is repeatedly suffocated with a plastic bag.

You go in to remake a movie that was notorious for landing a spot on the UK's Video Nasties list. Your goal is to remake, and with any luck, you one-up the original story. While I can't compare the two films. If this remake is better than the original, I have to wonder how bad the original is as this missed the mark for me entirely. A slasher that lacks suspense, exciting kills, continuity, or even some kind of memorable twist. The only thing positive I can say about Unhinged is that the killer looks creepy and the movie is quickly paced.

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