Unearth (2020) Movie Review

Unearth – Slow Burner

Director: John C Lyons, Dorota Swies

Writer: Kelsey Goldberg, John C Lyons (Screenplay)

Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Marc Blucas, Allison McAtee, Brooke Sorenson, Rachel McKeon, P.J. Marshall, Lauren Valentine

Plot: A fracking horror story, “Unearth” follows two neighboring farm families whose relationships are strained when one of them chooses to lease their land to an oil and gas company. In the midst of growing tension, the land is drilled, and something long dormant and terrifying, deep beneath the earth’s surface is released. “Unearth” is about the horrifying repercussions sown by shortsighted decisions, and what our children reap from our actions.


Tagline – A sacrifice must be made.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Unearth starts as we meet the two farming families. The Dolan’s with Kathryn (Barbeau) still trying to maintain the traditions of the family with Christina (McAtee) wanting away, Tom (Marshall) and Aubrey (Wyche), while the Lomacks, George (Blucas) a car mechanic who would rather not get involved in the farming side, is forced into making money, leasing the land to an oil and gas company.

As the drilling starts, the families do find themselves pushed further apart, but the worst is yet to come, as the strange condition starts to infect the families.

Thoughts on Unearth

Characters & Performances – Kathryn Dolan is the owner of one of the farms, she has kept the business going for her family and wants to see both farms continue to work together to help each other thrive in the future, she is pushing for her children to want to do the right thing on her side, despite knowing they have their own dreams, trying to hold them back from them. Adrienne Barbeau is the horror icon that takes the centre stage here, where she brings the mature figure in the changing world to life. George Lomack is the widowed father that was left the farm, he isn’t interested in running it as farmland, keeping to his garage business, even though he needs money, which he will take where he can from a company that will start digging on his land. Marc Blucas is fine in his role, only he is just the beginning of what is a series of bland characters that don’t make an impact on the bigger story. The two families have their minor events going on, only they don’t seem to have that much making anything seem interesting enough for the grander side of the film.

StoryThe story here follows to neighbouring families that start to clash when one of them decides to lease their land to a gas and oil company, against the wishes of the other, leading to a strange series of events to turn the friendship into a rivalry filled with horror. This is a story that shows us the generations of change going on within the farming community, it will give us the ideas that money is becoming difficult and they will need to go against everything they were once taught. This side of the bigger conversation going forward, but the strange events are filled with the unexplained, which will leave us wanting to know more, instead of just getting a few shocking images.

ThemesUnearth uses the locations of the two farms to show us just how away from the busy world the two families are, which will play into the friendship turned sour. The horror side of the film comes more from what is happening when things start going wrong, leading to the big shock moments, despite not giving us any real information about what is happening.

Signature Entertainment presents Unearth on DVD and Digital Platforms 28th June

Unearth is available on iTunes Here

Unearth is a slow burning horror that leaves too many unanswered questions.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – V – A Vigilante (2018) Movie Review

Director: Sarah Dagger-Nickson

Writer: Sarah Dagger-Nickson (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, C.J.Wilson, Tonye Patano, Betsy Aidem

Plot: After escaping her violent husband, Sadie makes it her life’s mission to help free others in danger. After months of rigorous training in survival skills, boxing, and lethal martial arts, she is back with a vengeance.


Tagline – She fights so you don’t have to.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Message Lost In Translation

Story: A Vigilante starts as we meet Sadie (Wilde) who is a specialist at dealing with husbands that abuse their partners, she will offer her services to make the man vanish to help the woman a chance to move on with life.

Each job Sadie does puts her through horrendous nightmares of her own experiences, though she doesn’t stop at just abuse to women, she will help children in need too, doing everything she can to help people who are left helpless.

Thoughts on A Vigilante

Characters – Sadie has been abused by her husband in the past, left her broken and their son dead, she has gone onto train herself to defend herself from ever being in this position again, helping other victims of abuse, by punishing the people that have caused the pain. We don’t meet anybody else enough to learn much about them, we hear about the abusers and each victim has their own story, but we only focus on Sadie.

PerformancesOlivia Wilde does do everything right in the film, she is head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, with the pain her character is going through.

StoryThe story here follows one woman who fights back against abusers in the world after surviving her own ordeal under a former partner. The story does have a clear message about how difficult spotting abuse can be and how people need to face the consequences of what they did. Where the story falls short is with how everything is handled, it tries to make it look like Sadie is a secret fighter, only it doesn’t seem to show enough of her planning or her action. The pace is all over the place and by the end you haven’t missed too much with the story.

Crime/MysteryThe crime follows the actions of Sadie taking the law into her own hands, with the mystery being more about what has happened in the past with Sadie.

SettingsThe film uses the isolated settings to show how Sadie could get away with what she is planning to do.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The messy plot.

Final Thoughts This is a simple crime thriller that doesn’t seem to put the plot in any order to make everything overly interesting, despite having a key message they want to send.

Overall: Missing too many marks.

Endangered Species (2021) Movie Review

Endangered Species – Tension Fuelled Experience

Director: M.J. Bassett

Writer: Isabel Bassett, M.J. Bassett (Screenplay) Paul Chronnell (Story)

Starring: Rebecca Romijn, Philip Winchester, Isabel Bassett, Michael Johnston, Chris Fisher, Jerry O’Connell

Plot: a wealthy American family who travel to the vast African wilderness of Kenya hoping for a dream vacation filled with excitement, bonding and a chance to fix the growing rifts within their family. But when their safari vehicle is attacked by a rhino protecting her calf, the family is left stranded miles from help and their dream vacation turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival in a world where they are the bottom of the food chain.


Tagline – Far from home. Far from safety. Far from over.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Endangered Species starts when a family Lauren (Romijn), Jack (Winchester), Zoe (Bassett), Noah (Johnston) and Zoe’s boyfriend Billy (Fisher) arrive in Africa for a safari holiday, they get into the beauty of the location, while getting prepared for an adventure of a lifetime.

As the family look to explore the safari themselves, they stumble upon a rhino family which will flip their vehicle, leaving them stranded in the middle of the safari, injured, helpless and prime for the picking for the wildlife.

Thoughts on Endangered Species

Characters & Performances – Jack is the father of the household, he has used his money from his luxury job to pay for his holiday as a treat, he is struggling to connect with his son, he wants to make sure this holiday is better than they expect, only his head strong attitude will find them in more trouble. Philip Winchester does give us the character that is conflicted with love and unable to change. Lauren is the wife and mother who is diabetic, which will cause another problem in the battle to survive the situation they find themselves in. Rebecca Romijn might well be the biggest name in this film and she does everything well, it is more that she doesn’t have much to do. Zoe and Noah are the children that are both finding themselves feeling distant from Jack, with them both getting a chance to win his approval on the trip, despite knowing he doesn’t believe everything they want from life. Both Isabel Bassett and Michael Johnston give us performances that will make us believe the insecurities in their characters.

StoryThe story here follows a wealthy American family that are on a safari in Africa, only for the trip to turn into a nightmare when they become stranded with the wildlife waiting for a chance to hunt them down, needing to find a way to survive. This story is one that we have seen before with a different environment, a family in need of help, stranded, needing to weight up their options for survival. The obstacles they come across will see them tested and will let them deal with the problems between them too. The story does have a deeper message about poaching, as well as showing us the African animals in their natural environment.

ThemesEndangered Species is an action thriller that will see man versus the wild, seeing how the group must figure out how to survive different encounters. The African backdrop is stunningly beautiful to see, even if the CGI on the animals doesn’t feel as smooth as it could do.

Endangered Species which is on digital 28 June and DVD 5 July

Endangered Species is a tense safari from hell.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – U – Uncle John (2015)

Director: Steven Piet

Writer: Erik Crary, Steven Piet (Screenplay)

Starring: John Ashton, Alex Moffat, Jenna Lyng Adams, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adria Dawn, Tim Decker

 

Plot: In this tale of small town intrigue, an urbanite returns to his quiet hometown on an impromptu trip as his Uncle, widely respected in town, struggles to evade suspicion of a murder.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Plods Along at a Snail’s Pace

 

Story: Uncle John starts when we see John (Ashton) trying to cover up a murder he committed, the locals are all in a buzz for the missing person in their community, in the big city Ben (Moffat) a graphic designer who gets a new supervisor in Kate (Adams) who gives him a new friend in the town as she is from out of town.

When Ben visits his Uncle John the two lives come together, with John’s secret becoming more apparent to the local community.

 

Thoughts on Uncle John

 

Characters – John is an older man that has been living the quiet country life, he has just killed a member of the community though, he has covered up his actions, which sees him trying to get on with his life, hanging out with the normal group of friends, following his own routine. Ben lives in the big city working in graphic design, he has placed himself in a company well and when he gets a new boss he can finally start to get over his last relationship. Kate is the new boss in Ben’s firm, she is new in town getting over her latest relationship too, which sees her connect with Ben after spending time with him drinking. Danny is the brother of the missing man, he does start trying to solve the case which sees him getting closer to John’s secret.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, it is hard to say anything overly bad about the performances, the problems come from elsewhere, John Ashton does show us a character trying to hide a secret. Alex Moffat brings us the character just coasting through life. Jenna Lyng Adams is the love interest that is trying to have a professional career, only she like the rest are basic with their performances.

StoryThe story here follows two lives, one of an Uncle, one of the nephew as they both are getting prepared for the next stage of their lives, one has committed a murder, the other just starting out his career, but the murder will come back to haunt their relationship. The story does have one major problem, that is the disconnect between the two stories, it takes well over an hour before we even get to know their relationship to each other and just how close the two lives are meant to be. The pacing of the storytelling is horribly slow and you just feel like you are taking too much a step away from anything major that is happening in the story.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this film does show how one man is trying to hide a murder he committed from the rest of the community, we see how he has created his own alibi with the people in town believe what he says. The mystery does circle around just why the murder was committed in the first place.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, the first is the farm life one, while the second is the big city, one shows what people can get away with, while the other shows how people can make it better.


Scene of the Movie –
From behind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The disconnect between the two stories we are following.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and slow drama which just plods along as such a slow pace you will lose interest quicker than expected.

 

Overall: Dull & Boring.

Rating