UrestLionsgate
2006
R

“I think there’s something wrong with my corpse.”

Alison Blanchard begins her journey to become a physician in her Gross Anatomy class, where she must confront rows of cadavers and her own fear of mortality. When the sheets are drawn back revealing her cadaver, Alison senses a presence in the lab. Her jaded professor chalks it up to first year “jitters,” but her worries increase when a friend is found dead in the basement. Alison must find out the truth behind her cadaver before its angered spirit can wreak further vengeance on those who dared to disturb the body.

Unrest was one of the films originally shown in the first After Dark Horrorfest in 2006. According to the hype surrounding this, apparently Unrest was shot in a real morgue and used real bodies, which isn’t really something new in horror movies (Poltergeist has the infamous pool scene), but if it is true, then the creep factor itself is warranted. Also, the cast was reported to have experienced “haunting dreams” during the shooting of the film. Hospital food will do that.

Going into viewing Unrest, I expected the standard unimaginative J-Horror style “vengeful ghost” kind of movie, after reading the blurb on the back of the DVD (which I conveniently include at the beginning of these reviews when I can). Instead, I found that Unrest used the Less-Is-More style of horror filmmaking; indeed, I don’t know if it was a conscience decision, or if the budgetary constraints forced things to get creative, but much of the spooky supernatural shenanigans is implied, and the movie relies on a lot of atmosphere of the hospital (which can be very naturally spooky themselves), the music and the simple gore effects, instead of CGI ghosts or reanimated corpses. Trust me, the corpses here don’t have to reanimate to be creepy.

The weakest part of the movie was the acting. At this point, it’s almost expected. It’s not painfully bad, one might say the acting is passable, but some of the dialogue made me pause and think, “what?” The word “groedy” or however you spell that word was used at one point. This is a word I haven’t heard used since…Junior High, I want to say. Also, some of the character motivations seem inconsistent, like the lead character’s clear exhortation that she’s an atheist, but then suddenly thinking it’s a “vengeful spirit” almost at the get-go. But, all things considered, that didn’t distract from the very effective creepy atmosphere of the movie itself, with the pacing and the story itself unwinding into one rather good slow-burner of a psychological horror with supernatural leanings.

Overall, Unrest was a bit more decent than what I was expecting, and—if you can get around the afore-mentioned sub-par acting—surprisingly satisfying, despite the inherent flaws. Worth a look-see.

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