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UNREST

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Movies Eddie McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Unrest
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UNREST - 2006
After Dark Films / Lionsgate
Rating: USA: R

A woman stares sadly, angrily, into a mirror: Then breaks it.

The next time we see her she's a corpse. Why? To the medical students of the Gross Anatomy class, her identity is immaterial. She is a corpse their university has provided for the fledgling doctors to study the human body piece by piece. One of the things that is unsettling about these scenes is the realism. The reason for that? Many of the bodies in this movie are actual human bodies used for real Gross Anatomy classes. How the hell did writer / director / producer Jason Todd Ipson get away with that? Simple: He is a real life surgeon and he got permission to film an actual Gross Anatomy class.

The students we focus on are Alison Blanchard (Corrie English: RUNAWAY JURY, NO WITNESS), Brian Cross (Scot Davis), Carlos Aclar (Joshua Alba), and Rick O'Connor (Jay Jablonski). They, along with the rest of their class, are cuttin' corpses and trying to make the best of it. These are scenes that even gorehounds would shy away from. Bodies, drained of blood, are shot in a light so dreary you can almost smell the formaldehyde. To shore each other up, they try to joke with the best morbid humor they can muster.

PODCASTER
Feo Amante's PODCASTER
Listen to Horror & SciFi Film Festival winners,
Jason Todd Ipson
Jason Todd Ipson
(
Movie: UNREST)
Kelly Parks
Kelly Parks
(
Screenplay: HOWARD'S CROSS)
discuss the business, failure, and ultimate success of indie film making.

UNREST
Was part of the 2006
AfterDark Horrorfest.

RESOURCES

imdb

impawards

See the official website
UNREST

Then other things start happening. And they happen loudly.

UNREST is very good, acting-wise. You believe in these people as student doctors. Direction-wise, it all feels very real, disgustingly so, and for a while, the alien world of a Gross Anatomy class held my attention. But nothing was really happening in the first half of this movie beyond that. The students get to know each other, a romance blossoms, and it just coasts. There are hints that something is supposed to be happening. There are passes of loud sound effects, quick turns, sputtering electrical appliances and so on. At first this works because you expect Ipson to build on it. But by the halfway mark of UNREST we've been put through too many of these and the novelty has worn off. One of the students loses it for reasons that should have been better demonstrated and commits suicide. This upsets the other three but we, as an audience, still haven't seen anything compelling.

Allison tries to tell her teacher, Dr. Walter Blackwell (Derrick O' Connor: DEEP RISING, END OF DAYS, DAREDEVIL), that something is seriously wrong. She believes that the body they are working on is causing freaky things to happen. Like a Vanity Fair report, she has no evidence for anything, it's just a feeling. Dr. Blackwell has no time for such nonsense so Allison goes to her counselor / school psyche, Dr. Carolyn Saltz (Reb Fleming). Dr. Saltz is ready to believe anything and everything that spills out of Allison's mouth and like two parents arguing over the same child, presents her case to Dr. Blackwell with Allison in tow. Dr. Blackwell doesn't want to hear such crap so concedes a few points just to get them both to shut up.

At this halfway point in the movie, the odd but explainable things that have happened are now reaching the truly creepy and unexplainable.

Jason shows a sure hand as a director and the production values are excellent. He gets the most out of his actors and they are clearly ready to throw themselves into anything, as the "Body tank" scene aptly demonstrates. Egad that was a skin crawler!

The soul of their Gross Anatomy corpse hasn't left yet, and that's the wicked problem. The soul is evil, stalks the halls of the hospital, and directs her anger at those who would cut her body to pieces. People start dying as Allison and her friends must unwrap the riddle of their corpse or die trying.

If you can deal with the first half of UNREST, you'll be rewarded by the second half, which totally saves it. And that's really something for a newbie director. I can't recall any other movie I've ever seen that actually picked up in the last half and saved the whole thing. I wish the whole movie was written as tight as the last part. But Writer / Director / Producer Jason Todd Ipson is just starting out, and this is a pretty good first feature.

Three Shriek Girls

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2006 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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