Ginger Nuts of Horror
Typically when it takes two years for a film to get a DVD release, the alarm bells have been ringing loud for some time. Originally produced in 2015, but only now getting a UK DVD release The Unraveling is a film that wouldn't usually have got a second glance had this been known at the time.
Thankfully, the fact that it took two years for it to get a DVD release wasn't known when the review request came in, as this is a little gem of a film.
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 begin to feel increasingly scared and tormented and are thrown into a desperate game of survival as the mysterious killer rages on.
Now while this all seems rather familiar, prank going wrong, something nasty lurking in the backwoods, friendships put to the test, campers being picked off one by one The Unraveling is not only more than it seems, but it is more than its constituent parts.
Key to the success of the film is in the use of a well realised and well-written use of the unreliable narrator. While the film is seen from the points of view of everyone, we the viewer experience the film from Michael's perspective, where his going cold turkey allows for a disorientating and confusing unraveling of the narrative.
For the most part, the film plays out like a thousand other films that have gone before it, but this done on purpose, as it lures the viewer into a false sense of security, where they believe they know exactly what is going on. But thanks to some clever touches and flourishes The Unraveling keeps the viewer on foot for the duration of the film.
Strong performances from the cast in general and a reliable and assured direction from Thomas Jakobsen ensure that this film remains taut and claustrophobic throughout its entire length. Aided by some beautiful cinematography and some confident editing The Unraveling's cinematic canvas is just as entrancing to watch as the action on screen.
The Unraveling is one of that rare breed of films that manages to break away from confines of its genre trappings to deliver a film that far outweighs any preconceived expectations the viewer may have going in. In the words of a certain song "If you go down in the woods today, You're sure of a big surprise."
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