Stars: Jodelle Ferland, Lochlyn Munro, Neal McDonough, Sunny Suljic, Pascale Hutton, Anthony Konechny, Jonathan Whitesell, Jake Croker, Chanelle Peloso, Rukiya Bernard | Written and Directed by Sheldon Wilson
When it comes to horror we get used to certain tropes appearing in the films. These are often accepted and taken in the fun of the horror experience, as long as the film manages to deliver the expected level of entertainment. The Unspoken is a film where you’ll find many tropes at work, but does it deliver?
After a night in 1997 when a family mysteriously vanished from their home, the house is left vacant for 17 years. When a new family move in, Angela (Jodelle Ferland) agrees to help look after their child. Now undisturbed though the house appears to be coming back to life, and has a keen interest in Angela herself.
If there is one thing that The Unspoken doesn’t do, that is the slow burn approach. Straight away we know that the house is evil, and appears to be very much haunted. The locals have a distrust not only of the house itself but anybody who wants to live there. Add to that some animal sacrifice, creepy child and even a babysitter and you can tell that this is a trope heavy experience.
The problem with this is that the film opens up many doors to interesting stories, but many times simply doesn’t bother to go through them. The aim of the film is to give horror fans exactly what it is believed they want, and that is gore and plenty of jump scares. There is even a bluntness in the way the victims of the house are killed.
What I would have liked to see in The Unspoken is more of an investigation into the “haunting” itself, and more character work to keep the audience interested in the characters. Angela, played by Jodelle Ferland, is a fleshed-out character and is interesting, but the rest don’t feel as focused upon. If anything, this weakness in the film is created by the twists in the story, so The Unspoken has fallen into a trap of its own devising that is hard to get out of.
Saying that, for what it is, The Unspoken is a fun movie and does deliver in terms of horror. There is a nice level of gore, and there are moments that do provide a few surprises. These surprises do unfortunately feel like chances missed (yet again) but they don’t spoil the experience, but the feeling of wanting more is still there. It feels like there is potential for a better movie here, but unfortunately it is one that is truly The Unspoken.
When it comes to acting, The Unspoken thankfully doesn’t let us down. This comes from dependable actors such as Ferland, Lochlyn Munro, and Neal McDonough. It is fair to say though that the cast as a whole play their parts well. Even the house itself does feel to be a character in its own right, though never manages to be as dark as it could be.
There is a twist in The Unspoken that does add an interesting element to the film and offers a potential for sequels in the future. It will be interesting to see where they take the concept of the movie, if they chose to continue the story. A film with a lot of potential, it is a shame it never really manages to reach it in its fullest, but at least it will make you feel that you have been entertained.
The Unspoken has a limited theatrical release in the US from October 28th.