When I hear the term ‘Southern gothic’, my interest is usually immediately piqued. I’m a Southerner, so that is obviously a big selling point…and gothic usually interprets into horror, so there’s the other. So when I read the press release for THE UNWANTED, I knew I had to give this film a look. And while it’s not perfect, the film is a heck of a thriller, and I recommend giving it a chance.
If you are not familiar with THE UNWANTED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Kino Lorber:
A Southern gothic retelling of Sheridan LeFanu’s “Carmilla,” THE UNWANTED stars Hannah Fierman (V/H/S) as Laura, a vulnerable young woman beguiled by a drifter (Christen Orr) who has come to her rural town in search of clues to her mother’s disappearance. The two women uncover dangerous secrets kept by their mothers, arousing the suspicion of Laura’s father (William Katt, Carrie, TV’s “The Greatest American Hero”) who will go to shocking extremes to ensure that the family’s dark secrets remain buried.
THE UNWANTED is shot well and looks pretty good onscreen. The video quality is lacking in some areas, although I’m not sure if this stems from the camera used or the HD transfer to Blu-ray. Either way, this is not enough to fully detract from the film, but I do feel it is worth mentioning.
The acting is really good, with Hannah Fierman and Christen Orr portraying the leads. I am only familiar with Fierman from her chilling performance in V/H/S, however I will state she is a talent to watch for in the future. Orr, on the other hand, is completely new to me. I am impressed with her versatile range of emotion, however, and I would wager we will see more of her in the future as well.
The story is where I find a couple of issues. First it is a slow-moving plot. The film only clocks in at 96 minutes in length, but it feels like it takes a while for the true story to get moving. This isn’t a huge issue, but again, I feel it worth noting. Secondly, the story never explains what the women truly are in real life. Are they witches? Vampires? Something else? Their need or desire for blood is a mystery, and it falls in the background for some reason.
Still, THE UNWANTED is entertaining, and I recommend it. The film is an interesting look at how people are not necessarily who we think they are, and sometimes the events in our lives have more meaning than we initially perceive. The film will be available next week, so make a note.