11th Oct2017

‘The Unraveling’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Zack Gold, Jason Tobias, Bennett Viso, Bob Turton, Jake Crumbine, James C. Burns, Cooper Harris, George Ketsios, Michael Mercurio, Rachel Clentworth | Written by Thomas Jakobsen, Justin S. Monroe | Directed by Thomas Jakobsen

unraveling-dvd

Michael has been trying to shake his heroin addiction. He has promised his pregnant girlfriend, to whom he is about to marry, that he is clean but that is not quite the truth. His friends stage a fake kidnapping as a prank for his bachelor party and Michael is hooded up and hauled off into the woods. But without his fix Michaels withdrawals start to kick in. After one of his friends is found dead the rest of the group start to feel increasingly scared and tormented and are thrown into a desperate game of survival as the mysterious killer rages on.

So, The Unraveling. Another “kids go to the woods, kids get killed” film. Right? That’s what it looks like on the surface. That’s not to mention the use of hockey masks in both the film and the advertising and artwork – way to sell your film as yet another stereotypical, cliched, slasher-movie wannabe. Only this is actually much more than a traditional slasher. Yes, kids get killed (well I say kids, but the characters are a bunch of grown men – all with their own issues), but this film also throws in drug addiction and all the consequences/problems associated with it; and tackles how friends can [try to] help friends in a bind, how powerful GOOD friendship can be. It’s an added, unexpected depth that makes Jakobsen’s film all that more refreshing.

What’s even more refreshing about The Unraveling is how it plays on expectations: Michael steals money and the next minute he’s kidnapped; but it’s his friends, set on taking him on his bachelor party after he flaked out on the organised one. Michael’s friends start getting killed but… Well to say more would spoil the most interesting part of this otherwise stereotypical film.

Well I say interesting. However The Unraveling‘s denouemnent, the films big reveal, is less intriguing and more of “I knew it.” Sadly the twist is sign posted early on – especially if you’ve seen similar genre films that touch upon addiction and paranoia – so you’ll know exactly where Jakosen’s film is headed. Still, the ideas and story beats that make up the conclusion of the film are STILL the most interesting aspect of a movie which, until then, is mere retread of cliches and tropes… Though the epilogue, which enforces the themes of pay it forward mentioned by one of the characters? Now that’s the truly intriguing part of Jakobsen’s movie – that I’d like to see more of!

The Unraveling is out now on DVD from Matchbox Films.

For more on The Unraveling, check out Stuart Wrigfht’s podcast/interview with co-writer and director Thomas Jakobsen below:

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