THE UNLEASHED (2011)
Directed by Manuel H. Da Silva
After finding a Oujia board in Madison’s attic, a group of friends decide to attempt to contact the dead, against Madison’s wishes. Unfortunately for them, after the fun and games end, something seems to have creeped through into the land of the living, using Madison’s friend and housemate Lindsay as its host.
THE UNLEASHED tells the familiar tale of oujia board playing gone wrong, where spirits come through and the characters spend the duration of the movie working out how to banish them. In this particular movie, the main character Madison has a backstory of her own and her house is already spooky before the ouija board dabbling begins. Though the presence of the ouija board itself could be to blame, with it made from an old wood, signalling that this isn’t any ordinary ouija board sold by games manufacturers. Besides this, the films retreads familiar ground and doesn’t offer up anything new to the genre.
The characters of the movie are given very little to work with, both substance and script wise, leaving the audience a little disconnected from the horrors that ensue throughout the movie. Even the ghouls that appear on camera struggle to scare, with their plale white, scarred faces. Instead, the film heavily relies on jump scares, such as doors closing by themselves, footsteps in the attic and ghosts rushing up into people’s faces. These scares might work for those who occasionally watch horror films but if you’re a horror aficionado, you will have seen this all before.
The film itself is well made, with clear shots and a variety of locations used to tell the story, but unfortunately the screenplay just isn’t scary or solid enough to have an impact on the viewer. Some parts of the film also feel a little disjointed, with characters appearing in one scene and then disappeared the next without the film addressing to their whereabouts or the assumed timeframe.
The performances are hit and miss but are acceptable enough to move the story along without a hitch. Trisha Echeverria leads the way as Madison, who’s not so keen to return to her childhood home after the death of her mother. Her childhood friend Linsday (Jessica Salgueiro) is there to welcome her home and to move in after living with her brother Cliff (Shane Harbinson). When a strange things begin to occur after playing with the ouija board, Madison embarks on a mission to find out all she can about the talking board, and happens across Andrew Porter (Colin Paradine), an author of the paranormal and supernatural who takes an interest in Madison’s tales of the consequences of the ouija board. Together they attempt to piece the mystery together before all their lives are threatened.
THE UNLEASHED leaves a lot to be desired but isn’t a terrible movie when it boils down to it. It manages to create tension through the bumps in the night and the mysterious closing doors though horror fans will be left unsatisfied by the outcome.