THE UNWELCOME *** UK 2010 Dir: Keith R. Robinson. 81 mins
I am not a fan of the ‘found footage’ genre or many of the Paranormal investigative films that spring up usually when one gets the notion to make a repeat of the success of the original The Blair Witch Project (1999). However, that doesn’t mean one cannot enjoy THE UNWELCOME (2010) for what it is that being a well-acted, well-directed film shot on the budget of train fare.
Advances in technology such as better, more compact cameras, better lighting, less expensive ways to edit, and post-production will never compensate for the lack of story. THE UNWELCOME (2010) is not ground-breaking in plot nor should every film be torn apart because it doesn’t change the genre. What it does is show suspense, editing, use of camera, and a strong ensemble of actors. The actors follow the cardinal rule of the Horror genre which is one can say the most ludicrous dialogue in a strange situation and look like you are serious and believable. There are some awkward moments in the film images plus the picture looks like it was edited for television with commercial break spots.
The film follows two paranormal investigators Oliver (Michael Cicchilo) and David (Gareth Gower) who take on a case of a young woman Kerry (Lisa Jane Gregory) that seems to be suffering from a poltergeist haunting. However, the two investigators suspect that something else may be at play when they notice that things only happen when she is upset or inconvenienced. There is a scary doll on the shelf that turns up along with the technical wizardry of the electronic waveform monitors to show ‘activity”. They suspect she is doing the damage like knocking vases and spilling water herself. The picture is a series of encounters and events that happen when staying in here home.
The acting remains solid enough throughout with good interaction and the obligatory jump scares. The sound design with music and effects works for the time it was made coupled with the editing. The shot selection and flow can get interrupted with the use of a quirky angle for the sake of it being odd. The voice quality in all the actors is lovely as you can hear every word in most of these pictures, performers tend to mumble or simply scream.
THE UNWELCOME (2010) suffers from the pace in the beginning as the story slowly unfolds a bit too slowly. To its general credit, the picture doesn’t descend into cheap nudity, the carnal demon, or gratuitous material between Kerry played by Lisa Jane Gregory, and the investigators. Nudity has a place in the genre just not in this film. There is a homage to The Exorcist (1973), particularly the “astronaut’ moment that is underplayed. There are some bloody moments as it comes to a close but those of you looking for buckets of blood and gore will be disappointed.
THE UNWELCOME (2010) is worth it for fans of the Paranormal genre however many will find it not engaging enough in the long run.
Review by Terry Sherwood