Let’s put it this way, The Unfolding was an attempt at something that could have been great had the budget been more impressive and if the script had been a little more direct. In a big way, this movie feels like an offshoot of the Paranormal Activity franchise thanks to the found footage style of filming that a lot of people have taken to over the years. The idea of the world being on the brink of nuclear war is an interesting part of this movie that is brought in now and again, as though to remind the audience that something terrible is imminent, even though it doesn’t appear to be that serious to anyone other than the actors who don’t look that worried. Of course, when a malevolent spirit is said to inhabit the house, it’s kind of a growing concern that’s tough to ignore in favor of world news when one really thinks about it. But for much of the movie, those who are essentially stuck in this home don’t exactly react in ways that might make one think that they’re truly afraid. Mild concern becomes a part of the story that’s easy to see and relate to, but outright terror doesn’t appear to be something that this movie was meant to inspire. It if was, then someone must have missed the memo.
One of the creepiest parts of the movie is the pathway that leads to the rural home.
The winding, one-lane path that leads to the home, which is obviously far out of the way and not close to much of anything other than the countryside, is easily one of the scariest parts of this movie since not only does the main couple come in at night, but the oppressive feeling that the narrow path gives makes one feel that the couple is making their way toward something that could very easily spell their end. Throughout the entire movie, this image might stay with people if they don’t like closed-in spaces or if they don’t like being able to see what’s coming around the bend in the road, literally. If nothing else, this visual is something that builds into the idea that this is supposed to be a scary movie.
The aftermath of the strange happenings in the house is kind of unnerving.
The screams that can be heard at night, the state of disarray that the rooms are left in when the couple isn’t looking, and the fact that they don’t hear anything when the rooms are being trashed are definitely unnerving since it means that something truly strange is going on in the house. It would have been great if the movie could have leaned into this phenomenon a little more, if only because it would have granted the movie a mysterious and devious nature that kind of escaped the audience in a very big way. Instead, the movie was content to keep going back to the idea that nuclear war was imminent now and again and run with the idea that the house was indeed spooky and had something wrong with it, but refrain from showing anything truly scary. The found footage realism could possibly be blamed for this, but once this style was selected, it feels that deviating from it too much would have been a bigger mistake.
The medium that’s brought in doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence.
The general idea that many people have about psychics, mediums, and anyone who deals with the paranormal tends to lean from fanatical belief to outright denial that they’re worth more than a few good laughs. The individual that was brought into this movie doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence for a number of reasons, one being that she doesn’t appear to do any good as she’s ready to cut and run at one point only to somehow regain her composure only moments later. It’s kind of like hearing someone say that they don’t think that their friend is ready to dive into the deep end of the pool, only for the friend to come up spluttering and spitting and finally admitting that they were in over their head.
In all honesty, this movie makes Paranormal Activity look like a masterpiece.
Some folks love the whole found footage look of movies when they see them, but there are those of us that have grown tired of this since, oh, I don’t know, The Blair Witch Project and would rather see an honest-to-goodness ghost story that has a much better chance of entertaining the average crowd. Come to think of it, I can honestly believe the many theater screenings of Paranormal Activity that showed how ‘scared’ people were at the theater might have been staged…
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