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John’s Horror Corner: Unhinged (2017), an equally lame remake of the forgettable 1982 exploitation slasher film.

February 13, 2020

MY CALL: Ooof. Every bit as regrettably bad as its 1982 predecessor. Terrible remake; terrible horror flick. Why even bother…? MORE MOVIES LIKE Unhinged: For more rural outings-gone-wrong, try The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Frontiers (2007), The Damned (2013) and Tusk (2014). Also, maybe try the original Unhinged (1982), not that it’s any better than this weak remake.

On their way to a wedding, four friends find themselves stuck in woodsy rural England. So, low on gas and seeking help, Melissa (Kate Lister; Fox Trap, The Final Scream, Curse of the Scarecrow, Mandy the Doll, Suicide Club), Lisa (Lucy-Jane Quinlan; The Cutting Room, The Carrier, Cage, 60 Seconds to Die), Gina (Becca Hirani; Lucifer’s Night, Deadly Waters, House on Elm Lake, Mother Krampus, The Bad Nun) and Thalia (Lorena Andrea; Warrior Nun, House on Elm Lake) find a lonely old house occupied by Miss Perkins (Michelle Archer; Let’s Go Home, Curse of the Witch’s Doll, Mother Krampus).

Honoring the 1982 original is that the acting in this ranges from very bland to terrible. Did you happen to read the movie titles in parentheses in the previous paragraph? Whereas the 1982 original had an entirely inexperienced cast, this remake seems to have targeted only actresses with abundant experience… in B-movies, none of which I knew existed.

REMAKE/REIMAGINING SIDEBAR: For more horror remakes, I strongly favor the following: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), The Mummy (1999), The Ring (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009), Let Me In (2010), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), It (2017), Suspiria (2018) and Child’s Play (2019). Those to avoid include Body Snatchers (1993; the second remake), War of the Worlds (2005), The Invasion (2007; the third remake), Night of the Demons (2009), Sorority Row (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013), Poltergeist (2015), Cabin Fever (2016) and The Mummy (2017). I’m on the fence about An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), The Grudge (2004), Halloween (2007), It’s Alive (2009), My Bloody Valentine (2009), Fright Night (2011), The Thing (2011; a prequel/remake), Maniac (2012) and Pet Sematary (2019), which range from bad to so-so (as remakes) but still are entertaining movies on their own.

Writer and director Dan Allen (Mummy Reborn) had only done short films leading to this remake, and he should have stuck to them. Attempts to make this remake “fresh and different” include stronger criminal themes, protagonist relationship drama, an odd wedding dress fixation, and deeper psychological parallels into Psycho (1960) with a sprig of the preternatural. None of it works. And the scare tactics employed in the final act fall into incomprehensibly stupid territory as I constantly wondered “but… why would the killer do any of this?”

Something especially odd about this remake is that we see a murder, then the screen says 35 years later—which is the disparity between the 1982 original and this 2017 remake—as if to suggest this was actually perhaps a sequel to the events of the original. We have also switched from a regal mansion (Unhinged 1982) to a somewhat weathered house (2017) in the woods.

The death scenes are totally phoned-in, with nothing interesting, scary, shocking or gory occurring on-screen. The final death was much bloodier, but still very weak. Even the torture scene was weak. That stupid mask the killer wore was a cheap and stupidly convenient tactic. A better filmmaker would have better utilized light, darkness, a thicker veil or a sneakier killer to keep their face obscured from victims.

The most satisfying scene, in terms of “gore”, was a scared girl vomiting. And the best part of the film were its final moments, which were actually pleasantly cheeky (i.e., dry cleaner scene). But those two scenes—at a combined 10-15 seconds of the film’s running time—were the best that was offered. I may have never before seen a remake with such low production value. Do yourself a favor and don’t watch this.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2020 9:04 am

    Thanks for the advice to steer clear of this one. I remember the horror of the first (not in a good way). Was hoping this might breathe some life into it but sounds like more of the dreadful same.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      February 16, 2020 4:59 pm

      It is the duty of a reviewer to suffer through some films so that you need not suffer as I have. lol


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