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Unearthed

Directed by Matthew Leutwyler

Written by Matthew Leutwyler

Starring Emmanuelle Vaugier, Luke Goss, Charlie Murphy, Beau Garrett

Produced by Francey Grace, Miranda Bailey, Jun Tan, D.J. Marini

Rated R

93 minutes

***

You know, putting in Unearthed was a real on-the-fence moment for me. It had a really overdone plot…but how would it watch? And when I found out how it watched, I definitely got my money’s worth.

As for the plot, well, it’s simple monster-movie kind of stuff: a monster trapped underneath a small, middle-of-nowhere burg for nine hundred years (somehow, they know it’s been nine hundred years) has just been unearthed and, somehow, awakened. It runs amok in said small town and only the local sheriff and some stranded folks passing through are left to deal with the problem.

See what I mean? Total ops-standard monster movie. Which of course leaves me wondering just how this got into the After Dark Horrorfest, a sentiment I’ve expressed a couple times throughout this series. This is supposed to be the place for legendary, weapons-grade horror that you can’t see just anywhere because it’s too good and too graphic for normal theatres. But with Unearthed, I’m halfway through the series and really, really starting to doubt this one.

Ah, but there will be some intriguing and redeeming features in this one—the small town will be suddenly fenced in by forces beyond its control, essentially turning this desolate burg into a very tightly packed survival horror scenario.

I’ve said it before but it will bear repeating forever—bad plot cannot be saved by any kind of execution, but Unearthed will prove beyond doubt that a sad, mediocre retread of a plot can be made into a fantastic movie if you go all-out on execution.

This may be “just another monster movie,” if you look at it elementally. But when you consider how they put it together, it’s going to be one of the best monster movies you’ve ever seen. Bar none. It will somehow, despite logic and common sense, manage to be a scary monster movie, and movies like that do not come along just every day.

Definite kudos are due to Unearthed for its scathing pace, tense moments, and surprises along the way.

The ending will be a lot like the rest of the movie—par for the course, strictly normal, and absolutely ferocious.

The special features are limited to Miss Horrorfest Content Webisodes and English and Spanish subtitles.

All in all, it’s downright unbelievable that these guys took what should have been a movie so dull that it put people to sleep and turned it into a nightmarish experience laced so deeply with adrenaline you could use it in place of a defibrillator.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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