The Unspoken, 2015.
Directed by Sheldon Wilson
Starring Jodelle Ferland, Sunny Suljic, Pascale Hutton, Anthony Konechny, Jake Croker
In 1997 the close-knit Anderson family vanished from their country home without a trace. No bodies were ever found and for 17 years the house has remained undisturbed…until now.
While confusion and mystery is at the heart of all good horror stories, clumsiness and disjointed narrative is not. With this in mind, the question at the root of the many problems The Unspoken has will be voiced and not left silent. It is this – if you have spent building up most of the film to hope for some kind of payoff and are then left wanting, do you have the right to feel disappointment? When viewing this perplexing mishmash of a production I would be forced to say yes, indeed you do.
Focusing right away on the haunted house style of horror film, the story shows us a strangely portrayed sequence of a family’s disappearance from the stock eerie looking homestead. 17 years later a mother and son move into the house, and a teenage care assistant (Jodelle Ferland) agrees to help look after the mute and seemingly troubled boy, Adrian (Sunny Suljic).
What follows never manages to invoke any scares or anything much of any interest. The writing seems to have ignored most advisory rules for a good quality script with banalities rebounding across the boards. The mother truncated figure seems to have been transported from a soap opera with none of the surreal terror that this could have brought in a more trustworthy hand. In actual fact, the performances and most of the scenes feel forced and clash in an irritating and strangely dull manner. Oddly enough it seems to have been put together without any reasonable knowledge of any horror genres at all (which again is strange as the executive production team have credits on Insidious and Paranormal Activity, so someone involved should know their way around a modern horror film).
In any case, the film also involves a strangely truncated lesbian romance story that does not go anywhere and does not serve any purpose as such. As with the disappearance of the family in the past, the writing again draws attention to something and then just leaves it hanging. This seems to go against pretty much all forms of basic creative writing advice. Only Jodelle Ferland in the lead manages to get anything much out of this mess, with her tough but vulnerable lead offering the tiniest shred of light in this turgid plunge into the worst of commercial horror.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.