Monday, October 30, 2023

Unrest (USA, 2006)

(Spoilers.) Sometimes the question is not how a film ever got made, but why the film doesn't kill someone's career. It is surprising that this dull and predictable and often laughable slab of sub-generic horror didn't do exactly that to film's director and co-scribe Jason Todd Ipson, but no, it apparently took his follow-up film of the following year, Everybody Wants to Be Italian (2007 / trailer) to do that, as his filmic production has (possibly thankfully) been non-existent since then. That this aggravating slab of cinematic sludge has apparently won some awards along the way is less a valid statement about its quality than solid support of the old maxim that "You can never underestimate the intelligence of the public."
Trailer to
Okay, in all honesty, Ipson's direction is not all that lousy — he knows, for example, how to frame shots, pan the camera, keep the narrative rolling in a comprehensible manner and even, occasionally, infuse the scene with some mild dread. But he never manages to truly make his predictable and often ridiculous movie either all that interesting or scary — but then, the actual narrative itself offers so many guffaw-drawing headscratchers and holes that Unrest is doomed from the start.
The cinematic tale concerns a rather bland Britney Spears-lookalike named Alison Blanchard (Corri English of House of Fears [2007 / trailer], Killer Pad [2008 / trailer], Devil May Call [2013 / trailer] and Faye [2021 / trailer]) who, aside from never taking her bra off, is a late addition to her medical school where she dorms in a bleakly empty building and, during her first day in Autopsy 101, promptly pukes and passes out due to the unease she suddenly feels when confronted by the naked corpse of the unknown female she and four male classmates are to dissect. Needless to say, there is truly something behind her feelings of unease besides a queasy stomach, and one by one the various people who come into contact with corpse die bloody deaths. 
Luckily, Alison has more brains than her mansplaining classmates, so slowly but surely she puts 1 plus 1 together and soon she and Brian (Scott Davis of the Tiffany Shepis non-flick 12-24 [2008 / trailer]), the non-purity-ring-wearing classmate who becomes her squeeze, realize that the soul of that corpse is not only not resting easily, but is actually an evil Aztec entity out for deathly revenge... (Big lesson learned from the film? If confronted by a naked corpse, whatever you do, don't comment about its ugly-ass vagina.)
A killer Aztec ghost that writes "You're next" in blood in (not Nahuatl but) English in a history textbook? The collected ashes, in an urn, of a body burnt in a school incinerator? A ghost that kills anyone that it feels it has insulted its body but then only cuts off the leg of the doctor that cuts it apart? A dead fat orderly that disappears until the ghost sees fit to scare the main character by making his body suddenly show up in a shower? Absolutely no logical follow up by the police or figures of power despite events that would normally draw a swarm of officials and/or press? People who literally swim in a tank of formaldehyde a couple of times without any eye damage or skin irritation? And, of course, the angry spirit leaves going after the movie's two lovebirds to the end so that they can save each other and live happily ever after, with the Final Gal probably always awakening, post-coitial, still wearing her bra...
But will they live happily ever after? The final scene of Unrest, in Brazil, in which the two supposedly victorious survivors suddenly pose a question that, obviously enough, should be the harbinger of future deaths (either their own or at their possibly former school) is less effective at offering a final shock than it does make you want to throw your beer at the TV screen. They had to go all the way to Brazil to suddenly consider that question? How did they ever graduate high school, much less make it to college?
Unrest does get some brownie points for fulfilling its exploitive naked-skin quotient by amalgamating the sight of naked breasts only in conjunction with gross-looking naked dead bodies, and the events surrounding the unlikable student Rick (Jay Jablonski) do offer some nice dread, shock and horror, but on the whole the movie remains an uninvolving, slow-moving, dull, and not very scary "horror" flick. Absolutely nothing special here — although, in view of its various awards, it does offer good evidence that some film juries are obviously rigged. (For a much better angry, killer ghost offing medical workers — instead of just students — check out the obscure German horror flick Sovia: Death Hospital from 2007 [trailer]; atmospheric, well-made and brimming with fatal dread, it make Unrest look even more like the worthless slice of wasted celluloid it is.)

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