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Unspeakableis a suitably spooky variation onThe Silence of the Lambscrossed withThe X-Files, and features a wonderfully delirious Dennis Hopper performance to boot. The legendary actor plays a gentleman sadist of a warden, with little tolerance for an experimental memory-graphing program in use at his prison by Diana, a resilient scientist (Dina Meyer). The capture of an escaped serial killer, Jesse (Pavan Grover), brings researcher and brilliant madman together in a Clarice-Hannibal fashion; the difference is that Grover's character is an evolved human with powerful telepathic abilities. Between invading Diana's thoughts and projecting fantasies into her memory machine, Jesse provokes guards and the warden himself into self-destructive insanity. Lance Henriksen and Jeff Fahey add extra substance to the cast, and the entire, grisly production has a sure-handed look and feel under the direction of Thomas J. Wright, a veteran ofThe X-Files,Angel,CSI, and much else.--Tom Keogh
A great idea, but... Because I've heard excellent things about the actor/director of 'Unspeakable,' I hate to give it a low rating. But I was sorely disappointed at the lack of plot development. The idea behind the film, that of unravelling the mystery behind a twisted serial killer's mind, is compelling. However, none of the film's elements receive enough attention. The acting is good, but the script contains predictable and uninteresting dialogue. I expect a psychological thriller to engage my mind. This film fails to delve deeply enough into its plot to do that.
A Woman Battles An Unspeakable Terror! Psychologist Dina Meyer has a device that, all jargon put aside, permits one to literally see into the mind of a subject. Since it has no legal standing, this machine is of no help to an innocent death-row inmate. Nor, for that matter, is the warden (Dennis Hopper), a fundamentalist tyrant, nor the governor (Jeff Fahey), a greasy political operator who, behind his Family Values image, once got an underage Meyer pregnant. Into the prison comes serial killer Pavan Grover, who is not only superhumanly strong, but seems to have either ESP or supernatural powers. When Meyer interviews him, her machine picks up very disturbing images. It turns out too that all of Grover's victims were evil hypocrites of some kind. And there are plenty around him here...
Any movie that calls itself "Unspeakable" is asking for trouble. It better be damn good, or it's handed an easy bad review title gag to its critics. As it turns out, Unspeakable, though having a number of problems, is consistently interesting, and far from bad. The politics of the script are front and centre -- this is a movie that has a point it wants to make. Unfortunately, the ending manages to be simultaneously conventional and incomprehensible, spoiling what had been a very promising first half-two-thirds and leaving too many threads dangling. Still, it has ideas in its head, has good performances from stalwart B figures (particularly Lance Henriksen) and has Hopper going entertainingly over the top. Worth a look, at any rate.
A commentary might have helped iron out that ending a bit, but none, sadly, is here. Instead, there are 2 sets of outtakes, 8 deleted scenes (looking very rough), extended gory scenes (such as when Hopper tears his face off -- these are also presented in raw form), and the theatrical trailer for this, Jeepers Creepers 2 and Shredder. There's also a Species III promo featurette for those who care. The menu's main screen is animated and scored.
A good, honest try. The script could have used one more draft before the cameras rolled, but it is rather unusual in this day and age to find a DTV horror movie with something to say.High Budget version of THE EVIL This film has nothing to do with SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or even the X FILES. If you have seen the film THE EVIL, a very low budget film from NEW ZEALAND, then you have an idea of what UNSPEAKABLE is doing script wise. It is not exactly an upscale version of THE EVIL, but it does come from that line of thought. Add a seam of the supernatural, and some intense psycho-drama, as well as some very major gore, then you can get the feel for this film. It is clear that Lance Henrikson's talents further this on the Researcher's side, and Fahey's character is a real politician's animal in the way this film works. It stands very steadily in the Horror film camp, but seems to attempt to say some things about the human condition.
The essence of this film, from the "meaningful film" point of view, is that this film looks at the nature of true innocence, what is evil, and what constitutes true evil; and perhaps even to go so far as the genesis of pure evil... is it inherant, or is it conditioned ?
The comments it has like "The Religious right are neither", and " I think I just got splashed by the milk of human kindness" really add some social comment on some very current conditions that the Neo-Cons purport to stand for. Hopper adds a great deal of verve in this film, and when he plays off of Lance's character, the emotions run high. Whilst I could care less about preachy Horror, it does work as a decent sort of horror film, since the serial murderer character has a quasi-apocolyptic tone, which really races on the supernatural and surreal elements in good horror films. Whilst the low budget pedigree of the film is very evident, it has enough of a budget to allow the actors to play high toned tension and horror in the best possible manner. The gore and horror, in the slash gore sense, leaves little that is unnecessary... the trepanning in the autopsy scene is done for a very good reason, and whilst it is graphic, it is not unwarranted in the context of the film and its events.
The DVD extras are mainly, and perhaps unusually, just visual out-takes, and deleted scenes. The scenes show that the script clearly intended to go in a much more supernatural direction, and in my view the final edit, when taking into account exactly what was taken out, shows a great deal of studio interference( I suspect). Overall, the film may have benefited by a writers commentary, since there is clearly something in the story line that had a few things to say, at least in a horror film sense, and maybe even in a wider, deeper, social sense.
Given a bigger budget, this could become a good, and very watchable franchise.