The Horror Review: EST: 1999

  Unearthed (2007)

 Film Title: Unearthed Year Released:  2007
Reviewed By: Steven West
Movie Website: Click Here
Overall Stars: ** Scare Factor: **

   Matthew Leutwyler, the writer and director of the splendid indie DEAD AND BREAKFAST follows it with an old-school monster-on-the-loose-in-a-desert-town 50’s-influenced creature feature, released as part of After Dark’s 2007 8 Films to Die For Horror fest. Its first half brings some well done attack scenes, as Leutwyler effectively keeps the monster off-screen and delivers one impressive set piece involving the terrorization of a lone woman who winds up stuck in a broken window. Sadly it’s largely downhill from there on in.

   SAW II body count member Emmanuelle Vaugier top lines as a sexy but downbeat female Sheriff with tragic but not very interesting back-story issues : eventually we learn that the town turned against her and blamed her for the death of a local Indian girl. She and a bunch of other folks - including a wise Native American and a wannabe Hollywood-bound actress - wind up trapped in the town with an “unnatural organism” on the prowl when a tanker crash blocks a main road. Cattle deaths and the arrival of mean n moody exposition-specialist Luke Goss (sporting a facial tattoo and apparently auditioning to be this year’s low-budget British Bruce Willis) eventually lead to the discovery that the town is host to a Pumpkinhead-ish monster. Arriving “from the sky”, the powerful creature wiped out an Anasazi tribe many centuries ago and has the ability to absorb the DNA of Earth’s many and various living things.

   Played admirably straight and sporting at least a smidge of visual style, UNEARTHED centers around a very toothy monster with some nasty-looking appendages that owes a huge amount to all four ALIEN movies. Sadly, this monster follows the now de-rigueur CG-enhanced trend and looks just plain silly when bounding around at high speed and afforded grinning close-ups. The climax is particularly weakened by excessive use of ho-hum digital FX.

   The flick is also done in by abundant clichés, including the now-obligatory CGI bat scare when characters unwisely take refuge in a cave network a la THE DESCENT, and too many silly musical-sting fake scares. On the positive side, there’s some good splashes of gore, including the cranial destruction of the most obnoxious character.

 -Steven West


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