MOVIE REVIEW: The Unseen (Fantasia Film Festival)

In Movies, Reviews by Bub Smith3 Comments


The Invisible Man is a horror sub-genre that is not visited enough. Aside from the majorly flawed yet still entertaining Hallow Man (Kevin Bacon rocked that shit!) I can’t think of a single invisible man movie in recent years.  Sure John Carpenter took a swing at it with turning Chevy Chase transparent (something we all wish we could do …), but it seems the invisible man is the red-headed step child of the Universal Monsters and that is a shame. Such a cool character and it seems like you could do a lot with it, besides Kevin Bacon being a sexual predator who kills animals than battles Josh Brolin (Holy Shit, just remembering how awesome Hollow Man was!!!). Thankfully SFX extraordinaire Geoff Redknap felt the same way I did with the invisible man and decided to revolve his feature film debut around him. Is Redknap able to do this character justice or does he just Chevy the shit out of it. Took me 5 years but I finally was able to turn Chevy into a verb… Proud moment for me…

Bob Langmore (Aden Young) is slowly disappearing. I don’t mean he feels like he is losing his identity or has lost himself in vapid materialistic world. No I mean he is actually turning invisible. Instead of forcing his family to slowly watch turn to nothing, Bob has opted for a secluded life in a small logging town. A place where no one notices him anyways. Struggling with losing himself bit by bit, Bob decides it’s time to return home and face his family. Bob’s daughter Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) has her own issues she’s dealing with and is less than thrilled to see her father. If only the two could see (or not see…Hey OH!) that their problems are closer than they think. Throw in a pissed off drug dealer, a crazy Chinatown black market surgeon and Bob’s pissed off Ex-wife’s lesbian partner and you got the makings of  a wild story or a pretty standard family reunion for me.

Aden Young is a criminally under rated actor (Check out the series Rectify if you don’t believe me). He is a force and can convey so much without saying a word. Before the movie kicks in with the drug dealers and organ trading we are with Bob as he deals with losing himself. It’s similar to watching a man come to terms with a terminal diagnosis and Young has the chops to keep this first act endearing and interesting. Doesn’t hurt that Rednap sprinkles in enough invisible goodness to remind us that this is a genre flick.  Or A drama flick disguised as a genre flick. If you took the invisible part out and replaced it with a terminal disease this movie would not miss a beat. Watching Bob try to reconnect with his daughter after taking off 8 years ago is interesting in an uncomfortable/awkward way. Eva doesn’t know why her Dad left and at 16 there never is a good enough excuse. Or so she feels. Once Eva’s secret is revealed she get’s snatched up by black-market weirdos she doesn’t care much why Bob left, just that he needs to save her. Typical woman.Hates you for abandoning her because your turning invisible, but the second she is abducted by the underground organ trade market she’s begging for your help. If I had a nickel every time I heard that one…

Redknap has a damn impressive resume when it comes to special effects and The Unseen is no exception. Bob is turning invisible not section by section, but chunk by chunk and it looks horrific. The entire movie we get the idea why Bob is dressed the way he is, but nothing can prepare you for what’s underneath. Even with a low-budget Redknap handles all the visual effects shots with an expert hand.

Unseen is not a perfect movie. A disjointed final act and couple support actors who had uneven performances will keep this one from being a genre classic. BUT what The Unseen is a fantastic take on a sub-genre that is not explore nearly enough. Fantastic lead actors, strong special effects and original story proves that Geoff Redknap is more than just a”SFX Guy”. He is a director we should all be on the look out for.

The Unseen is currently playing at Fantasia Film Festival 2016.