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The Unseen Review: Low Budget Mystery That Never Quite Works

There are movies where the less you know about them beforehand, the better the experience is. That is certainly the case with Journeyman (out in March), and as I watched the first act of The Unseen, I believed that it was the case here too. An unthinkable tragedy strikes the happy young couple, Gemma and Will, at the centre of the movie and we watch as the husband and wife try and fail to deal with it. It is genuinely heart-breaking and is beautifully directed and acted.

The Unseen however is not supposed to be a heartfelt drama about a family unit the same way that Journeyman is. The Unseen is supposed to be a mystery thriller. That’s why the movie suddenly takes a left turn with the introduction of the mysterious Paul. For the next hour or so, the couple struggle with their tragedy whilst Paul lingers in the background. The three never appear to become friends and so his invitation for them to visit him in the Lake District rings false. Nevertheless the couple take the trip and yet still nothing really happens. The mystery doesn’t really unfold as for a long time there doesn’t seem to be much of a mystery at all.

The Unseen flirts with horror until the final half an hour when the truth is revealed. This reveal is nothing spectacular but the actual final act is, if a little television-movie like, at least an improvement on the slow and repetitive middle act. Even then the constant twists and turns are so telegraphed that it’s implausible that the characters would even fall for them.

There are some things to like here though. Jasmine Hyde as the protagonist, Gemma, does some good work from a limiting script. And the camera effect when her vision becomes blurred and we experience it first hand, is simple but extremely effective. As someone who suffers migraines can attend, it is not too far from being realistic. It could’ve been used slightly less though as it can become difficult to look at.

The main issue with The Unseen is ultimately that the tone of the first act and third act feel like they come from two completely different films altogether. And it is the first act that I wanted to see more of, in a tight 90 minute drama. Instead what we have is an unwieldy, near 2 hour mystery thriller that never gets the pulse racing.

The Unseen will be available on DVD and Digital Download from 12th February and can be bought here.

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