Fantasia Festival 2016 Review: The Unseen

Fantasia International Film Festival Had The World Premiere For Geoff Redknap’s, The Unseen Starring Aden Young.

A welcoming Fresh-take on the Invisible Man tale.

The Unseen is a film that needs to be seen to be believed, which is ironic as the lead from this film is gradually disappearing before our very eyes. In a cruel twist of fate, a man who has lost his daughter (Julia Sarah Stone), is slowly losing his body too. Although the plot may sound basic in principle, combined with a tried and tested twist, and yet this has been executed with such believability that you become completely immersed in this surreal tale.

What is surprising is that this is his debut feature, but thankfully for us and Mr Redknap, he gets to premiere his movie at one of the strongest genre festivals in the world, Fantasia International Film Festival.

Our invisible man is played by none other than Aden Young. The star of the Sundance TV smash Rectify, who skulks about with a monotonous, slightly miserable demeanor. Drawing on the experiences of playing a moody and unsettled man in Rectify, he has been extremely well cast as Bob, the hardworking yet absent father with a secret to hide.

His mystery and intrigue becomes the focal point for the early stages of the film, and with no clear explanation as to why he is the way he is, or why he has made the life choices he has made, you are drawn into this tale of sadness, but always underpinned with an uneasy tension brooding away in the background.

The tension comes to a head on many occasions, a few “jump scares” in there for the those who grade your horrors on how often you jumped out of your skin, but for the people who like a good thriller. It’s this combination of aesthetic body horror being shown among such a normal environment, that makes this film such an engaging piece of work.. Despite how ridiculous the film may sound, I have to emphasise that because it’s treated with such seriousness and conviction by all involved, that it becomes a genuinely distressing film.

For all its good looks, the film does lose some momentum in the final third. Not in a disappointing waythe energy is still maintained right until the end, with several unresolved issues keeping the pressure on our characters. Only that the story has nowhere to go but tie these up, and considering all the components were introduced so early, some even concluded earlier than expected, perhaps some of the more crucial storylines could have been left to fester a little longer to maximise the intensity. 

Nevertheless, this is a slick looking horror-thriller, bringing a sense of claustrophobia and blurred sense of good and evil, not too dissimilar to that of Fargo. The way in which the invisibility was handled appeared fresh, innovative, aggressive and in your face, playing tribute to “invisible man” films of the past. Make no mistake, there are elements of this film that are truly disturbing, and on many occasions it will make you squirm in your seat. As a debut feature this is very impressive, and I’m excited to see what comes up next.

Words by Mark Blakeway
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