Stars: Lachlan Nieboer, Robert Daws, Nick Julian, Kitty McGeever, Lisa Kerr | Written and Directed by Eugene McGing
It is 2016 and a fearful world seems to be on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. A researcher in psychical events and his girlfriend travel to deepest Dartmoor to investigate a centuries-old building. What they unlock and discover is way more than they could have ever bargained for.
About ten minutes into The Unfolding, you’ll find yourself watching people sleep through a bunch of cameras set up around a house. I mean in the film people, stop looking at me like that. The words ‘Paranormal’ and ‘Activity’ might spring to mind, possibly in that order. I would forgive you for thinking so, because that is exactly where my mind went. Now, I don’t like doing direct comparisons because each film is an entity in its own right, but as there were so many parallels between the two films, I apologise in advance for the times they might come up in this review.
The Unfolding, a name which at first suggests a film about laundry, does a few things right in the whole ‘watch a scary house through a bunch of cameras’ genre. It’s creepy, but it feels realistic, which is probably the most important thing about this type of film. Never did I feel it was overdone, The Unfolding keeping things subtle and off camera for the most part. This, however, was also a double-edged sword: a lot of the earlier scares don’t really have the impact they could simply because we don’t see them happen. We just see the after result.
This is less of an issue later, but even then the ‘poor camera quality effects’ make the scary things difficult to see. You will probably find yourself getting freaked out anyway, as it is done quite well, but I did find it disappointing that I didn’t get to see the scary ghost things doing scary ghost things. That is one thing that (I’m mentioning it) Paranormal Activity has over The Unfolding: at least you can see the demon doing demon-y stuff!
However, The Unfolding also has a whole nuclear war sub-plot that sets it apart from Paranormal Activity (or maybe PA did too and I just missed it?). At first, you probably won’t think much about it, but I liked how it managed to add a level of tension to the film, despite the characters dismissing it as ‘never going to happen’. It provided a good balance to the ghost plot, which the characters spend the entire film trying to prove is happening.
I really liked The Unfolding (still not quite sure about the name though). If Paranormal Activity was your jam, you should check this one out. If it wasn’t your jam, you can still check this one out, because it stands enough on its own legs to be something entirely different.
The Unfolding is released, as part of the Frightfest Presents VOD label, on March 14th.