Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Horror Film Review: The Unfamiliar (2020) ★★★☆☆

Jemima West is Izzy Cormack | The Unfamiliar (2020) | Horror Film Review

British Army doctor Izzy Cormack (Jemima West) returns home from a particularly brutal war to find that nothing makes sense anymore at home. She begins to suspect she has PTSD following a series of increasingly disturbing events but a charlatan manages to convince her that something supernatural is afoot.

Realising that his wife is slowly unravelling, Ethan Cormack (Christopher Dane) convinces Izzy that they should take a much-needed break in Hawaii. Unfortunately, events take a darker turn there as Izzy's disturbing visions continue and Ethan's history as an anthropologist catches up with the Cormack family.

The Unfamiliar is written and directed by Henk Pretorius, whose work I first encountered on Fanie Fourie's Lobola, a quirky South African romantic comedy.

The Unfamiliar is a very different film with tons of jump scares, very dark imagery and an exploration of Hawaiian mythology. The imagery, use of colour, props and scenery are all excellent and there are loads of scream-out-loud moments.

Jemima West is Izzy Cormack and Harry McMillan-Hunt is Tommy Cormack | The Unfamiliar (2020) | Horror Film Review

My only complaint is that The Unfamiliar tried to do too much. There is a lot crammed into this 89 minute film, so much so that it could easily be split into three films (for each of the three acts), each with its own unique plot. Charlatans, body snatchers, voodoo, revenge against anthropological raiders and possession, The Unfamiliar has got it all and its a pity because I think it could have been quite compelling with a little more focus.

Despite that small complaint, I give The Unfamiliar an okay three out of five stars.

★★★☆☆

The Unfamiliar Trailer

The Unfamiliar is available on digital and VOD and is released through Vertical Entertainment in North America and Lionsgate UK in the United Kingdom.

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