“Gemma and Will are shattered when their son dies in an accident. Gemma blames herself and starts to have panic attacks that affect her eyesight. Will, tormented, believes he is hearing his son’s voice calling out to him. To escape their grief, they take up an ex-pharmacist’s offer to stay at his Lake District country getaway but are his intentions entirely benevolent?”
Low budget independent horror is a mixed bag and requires a formula of simplicity, restraint and creativity that not every production can get right.
However I am happy to say that The Unseen nails it.
The shots are crisp, the lighting and music are atmospheric without being distracting, and the narrative moves along at a steady pace. Most importantly, The Unseen is a gripping thriller with sympathetic characters and a healthy amount of emotional rawness.
The big highlight for me were the panic attack scenes mentioned in the synopsis. The POV shots were a fantastically creative choice and as a short-sighted person myself, my fear whilst the camera blurred and darkened during a driving scene was palpable. These sequences are wonderfully effective and, no pun intended, blindingly tense. I was clinging to my seat in the theatre.
Writer/ Director Gary Sinyor does a terrific job of maintaining an unsettling atmosphere and utilises the picturesque landscapes to their full potential, emphasising feelings of isolation and helplessness. Showcases a British cast in British locations with a British crew – this is independent British horror at its best.
Jasmine Hyde delivers a powerhouse performance in the lead role of Gemma and given her relatively short list of Film and TV credits handles everything from emotional breakdowns to underwater nightmares to depressing sex scenes with ease. Her co-stars Richard Flood and Simon Cotton also provide great support but are given noticeably less to do; this is definitely Hyde’s movie.
All in all, The Unseen is a terrifying psychological thriller with an emotional core. With its scaled back production, the film focus on great performances over cheap scares and proves to be more than effective on such a tiny budget.
The Unseen hits theatres on December 15th, make sure you check it out!