There's much more bubbling away under the surface of director Thomas Jakobsen's excellent new horror thriller 'The Unraveling' as what might first appear. In all honesty the various posters and promotional artwork for the movie, which features numerous masked and hooded characters, may be selling expectations a little short. Thankfully if you can make it past the DVD cover then you're in for a treat filled with unexpected twists and turns along the way.
Michael is struggling with an addiction to heroin and his so-called mates have set him up with a fake kidnapping as part of his stag party celebrations. If that wasn't bad enough during the stag antics one of his friends shows up dead and it suddenly turns into a cat and mouse struggle for survival as a mysterious killer looms in the surrounding woods. Coupling up this traumatic situation with heroin withdrawals it's certainly going to be an unforgettable time for Michael.
Whilst the setup sounds disappointingly familiar theres a much fresher approach from director Jakobsen which manages to use the slasher genre as an almost unexpected work of misdirection. Themes of drug dependency, friendship and survival are all very present here and thankfully Jakobsen and co-writer Justin S. Monroe have managed to merge obvious genre clichés with clever layers of foreshadowing and surprises along the way.
‘The Unraveling is a well-rounded entry in horror and wholly gratifying. Its not an all-out blood and blitz outing and so gore hounds may be disappointed in spite of the more grisly scenes. Its more a lightweight allegory of the struggles and pains that the lead character is going through and what he needs to overcome in order to survive these situations.
What makes it stand out from the hordes of other horror efforts out there, which have very much touched upon these types of themes previously, is its multi-layered approach. It may be a predictable ending for some but its not delivered as one and it takes nothing away from the experience.
Its well acted, nicely edited and a decently polished effort. Its all-round high praise for this directorial debut from Jakobsen and hopefully its a positive sign that will bring plenty of high expectation for other future projects from the worthy filmmaker.