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The Unfolding (2016) – Movie Review

The Unfolding (2016) - Movie Review

Well this was a bit of a surprise – I actually watched this film about 12 months ago and then completely forgot about reviewing it!

It was only when I was scanning through my (incredibly unorganized) Word documents last night that I came across a list of pointers for this film…which is a relief because I had forgotten numerous scenes it offered.

Anyway, not a well known Found Footage film, but a pretty unique one in many ways…

The Plot

Okay, it’s time to steal the plot line from IMDb once again (well at least I’m not giving away any spoilers this way!)…

As the world stands on the edge of a nuclear war, researcher Tam (Lachlan Nieboer) and his girlfriend Rose (Lisa Kerr) head to Dartmoor to investigate a suspected haunted building.”

Creepy stuff eh?

The Endgame

I definitely had a few lingering worries going into this film because I can remember noticing the IMDb rating it had before I sat down to watch it…which sucked!

But within a five minute period of the first few scenes I realized why I never really pay that much attention to ratings on IMDb…because 99% of the critics there HATE the Found Footage genre!

Now, this was not an ‘edge of your seat’ kind of journey with jump scares etc, it was put together with a little more thought than that (well it is a British film!). 🙂

I think the main element that got me through this film with a reasonably positive vibe was it’s intriguing concept – I really NEEDED to get to the end of the film to find out how it all ended.

This intrigue was mixed up with some absolutely blinding cinematography in the film – the rural Devonshire landscape provides a quite beautiful, Gothic, environment for a horror film.

As you all probably know by now, I’m Welsh, which sort of fits under the British flag. With this in mind I’m always willing to give UK-based Found Footage efforts a ‘fair go’.

I’ve always thought that our sh#t weather and overcast green landscapes are a perfect fit for Found Footage, and I’m surprised more efforts have not come out of the country so far.

The Cliche Remains The Same…

Unfortunately this film did mange to fall into a trap that most horror movies get caught in these days – the good old horror cliche.

You see, the start of the film is pretty engrossing and effective – even memorable to a point.

The initial radio broadcasts that pop in and out of the early clips are really well done. Here you have a young couple in love with terrifying news in the background toting the end of the world.

I thought that was a pretty well done. As they talk about their future together we get the feeling that there’s probably going to be no future for ANYONE on the planet…

Then we hit the haunted house…and the film manages to turn into every other paranormal Found Footage film ever made!

Conclusion 

Certain parts of this film were excellent – really enjoyable…but it came to a disappointingly predictable close.

This was a real bummer as the film did a good job of keeping you engrossed for large periods of the running time (well it did with me anyway!).

I think what disappointed me most about the plot’s cliches was the fact they managed to cover up the imminent nuclear apocalypse. This was one element that should of been incredibly strong throughout the movie.

But things got a little ‘mashed up’ when Tam’s best friend arrived at the house and then the psychics get invited in…you know this route all too well by now right?

But still, not a film to be sniffed at and some pretty unique angles (including wonderful cinematography at times).

Did the film let itself down?

Yeah it did manage to let itself down at times BUT it still had it’s worthwhile moments.

I suppose if the paranormal cliches were not involved people would have complained about it being boring…so it’s a bit of a vicious circle really.

Give it a go and see what you think…then tell me how wrong I am in the comment section below! 🙂

Chris

10 Comments

  1. Ok Chris, just finished watching it, so here we go 🙂

    I really liked the side-plot about the nuclear threat. The scenes with the radio reminds me a little bit of “the day after”. So pretty cool from this point.
    There were nice locations like the foggy ruins for example and a few scary scenes.
    BUT
    the most time I was catching myself watching the clock because it bores the s***t out of me.
    Don’t get me wrong i wouldn’t say this film was a bad one but a good one neither,
    That whole nuclear war threat was kind of unique for me and I would like more efforts to that theme but besides that? Nothing new ,nothing special but a cute actress (the young one) 😉 and the side-plot.
    Like you Chris, I needed to see the ending and it was exactly what I’ve expected. A little bit satisfying and a bit disappointing in one

    Worth a watch? No! Yes! I don’t know!

    *sorry for the poor English*

    • Your English is just fine Noel! 🙂

      Yeah the nuclear plot was a little bit overlooked towards the end portions of the film wasn’t it? I definitely thought they missed a trick there. Overall a very unique film to begin with that descends into a not-so-unique Found Footage effort. Shame really because the ideas were all in place…

  2. You’re right on with the Unfolding. The first time I watched it I thought it was pretty good and wanted to see how it would all turn out. I tried watching it a second time, I do that with most found footage, and I fell asleep in the middle of it. Feels like a dry spell in the found footage territory lately. I heard a bunch are coming out soon. Including one with a big ass shark and few unlucky folk in a protective underwater cage. Problem is so many of these movies just fade away and become obscure elusive rarities. Took me 3 years to finally see The Poughkeepsie Tapes. So we will see. Take care and be well my far away friend.

    • I know what you mean about the dry spell – I actually had to turn to YouTube last night to get my fix…but I ended up watching a pretty half-decent effort in the end (review will be up here this week!). I like the idea of a shark Found Footage…although it sounds an awful lot like that ‘Into The Deep’ film released last year (which was pretty good actually!).

      Great to hear from you again Howard! 🙂

  3. OK Chris, I agree with you that the end was predictable however, I think the nuclear threat was played correctly subtle and behind the scenes as to keep us wanting more information, had it been played up it would have taken away from the best parts of the film, I really liked this film it kept me on the edge of my seat and for the first time I did not shout “why the hell dont you just get the hell out of there” overall great FF film.

    • Okay cool – glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
      It certainly was original in specific parts…but a bit cliche in others!
      Overall it’s well worth watching (again!)

  4. Hi Chris! Great website. I stumbled across it the other day and was so happy to see a site dedicated to suggesting and reviewing found footage movies (It’s so hard to get info on the web especially now the IMDB forums have closed, and most of those people were either snobbish towards FF films or just suggested the same old ones).

    Anyway, I bookmarked a few suggestions of yours and I started with this one – The Unfolding – last night. I thought the premise was great and the spooky beginning on the rocks in the middle of the moors was well done. Even the drive to the house was sinister. But when they got into the house everything fell apart for me, mainly for the reasons you have already stated so I won’t go over them.

    I hated that they used sinister music and sound effects in a found footage movie.
    I hated that the camera appeared to “cut” to different angles during many conversations despite the fact there was only meant to be one person with a camera in the room (I’m not talking about the CCTV).
    I thought the presence of the male friend and then the female psychic were detrimental and ruined the feeling of isolation. “We really are in the middle of nowhere…” the girl keeps saying, But then friendly people keep turning up so any building sense of danger keeps getting quashed.
    The male friend occasionally offered bits of info regarding the history of the house (but only when it suited the writers for this information to be divulged, which made no sense). E.g. “Oh by the way, there was a girl here who was kept prisoner, raped, and killed when she was 18”. “Why didn’t you tell us this before?” “Oh the house has lots of history, how was I to know a tormented abused and murdered child could possibly be the ghost?” It didn’t work, and had the two lead characters been alone and isolated, they could have found this information out through much spookier and more mysterious means, like finding an old diary or something (the house was in the middle of being renovated, right?).
    As for the psychic lady, she didn’t offer anything that wasn’t cliché and she was just so unoriginal that her scenes didn’t draw me in at all.
    I DID like that both the young guy and girl were open to the idea of ghosts, and it didn’t follow the usual trope of the girl seeing all the activity and the guy being cynical and not believing it. That’s one of my main hates so I’m glad the film didn’t do that!

    • Hi Stevo!

      Apologies for the late reply – the security setup on the site managed to throw your comment in the spam folder…and I only just noticed it today!
      I’m with you on many of the points you covered – I enjoyed certain aspects of the film but there was an unwanted use of cliches in the second half of the film.

      So sorry this comment got caught up in the system – I have to have it in place to stop the ‘free advertisers’ I get hammering this site every day. The more popular the website – the more spammers are attracted to it!

  5. I liked the setting overall. I was watching on my IPAD with my headphones and can tell you that I jumped out of my skin a couple times big time. There was a random scream while they were sleeping during the movie that caused my body to uncontrollably jump so bad that I had to pause it because I laughed for 5 minutes. The nuclear war angle was different but didn’t fit at all for me.

    • No I get you – the nuclear angle should have been used more as it was a strong and unique idea. I just felt like the film sidestepped it too easily.

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