The Unleashed DVD Review
Directed by Manuel H. Da Silva
Written by Diane Da Silva, L.A. Lopes
2014, Region 2 (PAL), 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 21st July, 2014
Trisha Echeverria as Madison
Jessica Salgueiro as Lindsay
Colin Paradine as Andrew Porter
Caroline Williams as Professor Curtis
Suzanne Farla as Amara
Malcolm McDowell as Narrator
After years away from home, Madison (Trisha Echeverria) returns to the house she grew up in after the death of her mother. But there are ghosts waiting for her on her return, and not just memories from her past. After playing with a Ouija board with friends one evening, Madison gets sucked into a race against time to save her closest friend from an evil entity.
Supernatural films seem to be en vogue at the moment and the run up to Halloween is going to see its share of Ouija related movies so it is fitting that The Unleashed will see the light of day on DVD considering it was made all the way back in 2011. But when there is the cream of the crop yet to come (Ouija, Annabelle, etc.) you may be best watching this one first, if you bother at all.
The main problem with The Unleashed is it knows the key elements to a possession movie, so follows them blindly in a sort of colour by numbers way. There is nothing new, and it ultimately is quite a boring endeavour.
If you want to make your film about a Ouija board spooky, back story helps and enlightening an audience to lesser known facts is fine, but what happens here is a bunch of Ouija facts get spewed out unnaturally like someone skimmed a Wikipedia article and regurgitated segments of it. It’s trying too hard, but then in other respects, it doesn’t try hard enough. Three seemingly separate story lines, an old woman and father at the beginning of the film; lectures on Ouija Boards attended by a reporter; and Madison’s struggles of being at home, feel clunky and come together too late on. When Madison and the reporter Andrew (Colin Paradine) do randomly meet, it’s awkward and there is zero chemistry, much like everyone else in the film.
If the name Malcolm McDowell draws you to this film then turn away now, McDowell is used for a rather unnecessary opening narration and nothing more, the kind of role that is forgotten about half way through the movie. In terms of casting, there are way too many characters trying to be funny and kooky which it takes away from any legitimate humour and back story to the central characters. You could take away five “friends” of Madison and it would not make a difference, except for maybe a better connection to the characters that matter.
But all is not lost here. One stand out moment, a ghost playing a violin along with a pianist, is actually rather special and touching, but there isn’t enough of this haunting quality and the rest of the film is too jarring to capture anything more.
If the writers had stayed away from what they thought they should incorporate, this could have fared much better, but ultimately it’s just the same old Ouija shtick we’ve seen a thousand times before.