Thursday, September 21, 2017

Film Review: Unnatural (2015)

Unnatural (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It is a horror movie without even a semblance of horror."

A group at a remote cabin in Alaska are targeted by a genetically-modified polar bear...

Unnatural is a simple film—simple to a fault. The plot follows a corporation that is experimenting on animals in order to help them adapt to climate change. They experiment on a polar bear, then, as expected, the polar bear escapes. Meanwhile, a photographer and his models land in Alaska where they stay at Martin Nakos' (James Remar) remote cabin for a photo shoot. They are eventually attacked by the polar bear. This starts a fight for survival, which is actually just them sitting around and waiting to be picked off while Martin tracks the bear. That's the entire plot. There really isn't anything 'deep' or even interesting about the story. It leads to an underwhelming ending, too. It's not horrible, but it doesn't leave an impression.

Unnatural isn't a horrible film. It's not like a film from The Asylum or anything like that. It's just not an entertaining film. It's so painfully generic and predictable. In terms of plot, it doesn't take any chances. You know exactly where it's going, who's going to survive, and what's happening. The characters don't help, either. This cast of characters is unbelievably obnoxious. You might like one or two characters and the rest of them will drive you insane. Hoping the horror will save it? Well, it doesn't. There is no atmosphere, there is no suspense, and, hell, there aren't even any jump-scares. It wants to act like a creature feature, but the mutated polar bear hardly has a presence. It has some decent production values, but it fails in every other department.

The acting doesn't fare much better, but that's probably because the characters were cliché and annoying. James Remar is at least decent as the leading man. The film looks good at certain times. However, the night scenes were too dark for me. I could barely see what was happening during certain scenes. And, like in many horror movies, when things start happening, scenes are usually hurt by shaky camerawork. The film was written by Arch Stanton and Ron Carlston, and directed by Hank Braxton. The story doesn't have to be original, I understand that. It does, however, need a pinch of personality to make it stand out—this film doesn't have that. Although mostly coherent, the plot is paper thin and forgettable. Braxton's direction also fails to conjure any sense of horror from beginning to end.

Overall, Unnatural is a disappointing movie. It's not horrible, it won't end up on any 'worst movies of all time'-lists, but it is bad. It may not be poorly made on a technical level, but it is boring and forgettable. It is a horror movie without even a semblance of horror. It's just not an entertaining film, unfortunately.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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