UNSEEN is a new survival movie with a short runtime, fierce pace, and tight story. This is a Blumhouse production and I can’t shake the feeling that this should’ve been part of the Prime Video “A Blumhouse Halloween” anthology. It would’ve been one of the best ever in that anthology.
Due to the nature of the story, it has both elements of thriller and horror. The runtime is just 1 hour and 15 minutes (make sure you stick around for a few end-credit moments) and it is relentless. Do not miss out on this one.
We follow two very different young women who become involved in each other’s life at a critical point. Sam is working at a gas station in Florida and seems quite depressed. Emily wakes up at her ex-boyfriend’s house in Michigan. He has kidnapped her, and she is in serious trouble.
He’s been stalking her and makes it clear that he wants to kill her. If he can’t have her, then nobody can.
Unfortunately, Emily is nearly blind without her glasses, and they break very early on. This is when she manages to call someone in the call log on her cellphone. Sam picks up and the two do not know each other. The only reason she’s in Emily’s call log is due to dialing a wrong number earlier in the day.
Sam now becomes Emily’s eyes via a video call. She needs to guide Emily through a forest in Michigan while being at work in Florida. All while dealing with faulty slushy machines, a truly awful boss, and even more awful customers.
This is a very simple plot and the short runtime ensures that it works much better than I anticipated. Especially due to the characters working so well. Both the two main characters and all the supporting characters who tend to be more over-the-top.
With a simple survival story and a short runtime, Unseen is one hell of a ride. I was at the edge of my seat and with my heart in my throat at times. When the characters need to be quiet, you find yourself almost holding your breath to stay quiet as well. I certainly did!
The two main characters are played by Jolene Purdy and Midori Francis, who are pure magic together.
Jolene Purdy (WandaVision, Under the Dome) plays Sam, who is not in a good place. Her job sucks and she is used and abused by everyone around her. Midori Francis (The Sex Lives of College Girls, Grey’s Anatomy) is Emily, who has a lot going for her in life. However, she is currently trying to survive being chased by her psychotic ex.
In the few remaining roles, I have to highlight Missi Pyle (Y: The Last Man) who is terrifying as an obnoxious customer. Or “customer” since she never actually spends any money at the gas station. She’s a classic “Karen” and she feels very entitled to everything. Also, Michael Patrick Lane (Lore) is spot-on as the ex-boyfriend, Charlie. A sad and very dangerous person.
Yoko Okumura is the director of Unseen and the screenplay comes from Salvatore Cardoni and Brian Rawlins. It is a very well-written story that I would not have guessed came from two male writers. Kudos to them both for creating such wonderful characters. All of them, really.
And then there’s the tight and intense pacing of the directing. Often splitting the screen between the two main characters in innovative and fun ways. Or brutal, when the scene calls for it.
You may know Yoko Okumura as a director from Sam Raimi’s Quibi horror anthology 50 States of Fright. While Quibi never really managed to become a success, it definitely did manage to produce a few amazing projects. The Sam Raimi anthology is one of them!
If you enjoy survival movies, then this one should definitely be on your list. I enjoyed it way more than I ever expected due to the story, directing, and brilliant casting!
Unseen (2023) is out on Digital and Demand from March 7, 2023. Perfect timing with International Women’s Day being on March 8.