“Unseen” is a 2023 American horror thriller film directed by Yoko Okumura, featuring a promising premise that explores the theme of fear and danger in a digital age. While it boasts committed performances from its lead actors, Midori Francis and Jolene Purdy, and introduces an intriguing concept of using video calling for survival, the film ultimately falls short due to its inconsistent execution and an overreliance on hot-button issues rather than character development.
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A Promising Premise
The movie revolves around Emily, portrayed by Midori Francis, who finds herself in a nightmarish situation when she is kidnapped. Her lifeline is Sam, played by Jolene Purdy, a stranger who helps her escape her captor through mobile video calling. This futuristic concept of virtual assistance in dire situations sets the stage for what could have been a gripping thriller.
The Good, the Campy, and the Absurd
While the lead actors, Midori Francis and Jolene Purdy, deliver commendable performances in their roles, the film’s supporting characters, Carol (Missi Pyle) and Charlie (Michael Patrick Lane), come across as campy and deranged throughout the narrative. This stark contrast in character portrayal creates an uneven viewing experience.
“Unseen” attempts to tackle themes such as the “horror of whiteness” or the dangers posed by entitled individuals. However, these themes are used more as plot devices than as fully explored elements of the story. The film’s plot veers towards inconsistency, and its attempts at social commentary often feel forced and underdeveloped.
Lack of Thrills and Depth
Despite a promising premise, the film fails to deliver the thrills and insights one would expect from a thriller. The dialogue and scenes often lack impact, with anticlimactic moments and missed opportunities for character development. The film introduces elements like malfunctioning slushie machines and “rednecks,” but these do little to enhance the overall experience.
A Superficial Exploration
“Unseen” briefly touches on important themes such as the reliability of American law enforcement and the responsibilities placed on non-white communities. However, it fails to delve deeply into these themes, leaving them unexplored and unsatisfyingly addressed.
Conclusion – Unseen
In “Unseen,” the potential for a gripping thriller is overshadowed by inconsistent execution and a reliance on sensationalized issues. While the concept of using video calls for survival adds a unique dimension, it can’t salvage a plot that lacks depth and character development. The film hints at social commentary but fails to provide meaningful insights. Ultimately, “Unseen” lives up to its title, offering a tantalizing premise that remains frustratingly unfulfilled.