Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
July 1st, 2018


Directed by Hank Braxtan
Written by Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson
Starring James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson
89 mins

So far, we have had a great run with this go-round of After Dark. We've likely found the dog in the lot, we've had some great titles come out, and we've had plenty of fun in the process. Now, we've got a new entrant in the pack to check out, Unnatural, a movie that gives us another look at nature gone awry once man gets involved.

Unnatural follows the Clobirch Corporation, who's been fiddling around with genetic engineering, and...oh, you see where this is going, huh? Well, you're right...sort of. The meddling in places where man was not meant to tread has produced a flesheating monstrousity of disturbing appetite. Now, enter a photographer and a pair of models off photographing in the frozen wilds...not too far from our flesheating horrorshow. They, along with their guides--a few good Alaskan folks--are about to find themselves on ground zero of a horror they couldn't even begin to imagine.

Okay, so it's a bit heavy-handed, and a little on-the-nose. Horror movies really didn't need another environmentalist scold about genetic engineering. There are already plenty of these out there. Though I have to admit, I was surprised to see what the monster in this go-round was. Let's just say that Stephen Colbert was right about the number one threat to America.

It's awfully straightforward too, especially for an After Dark entry. This is the kind of thing that could have been released at pretty much any time. It lacks the distinct twists that After Dark entries commonly have, and I'm not a hundred percent sure why it's here. It's not bad, really, but rather what it is is unforgivably mundane. There are dozens of movies like this. I know; I've seen them. Abominable, Legendary, Exists...this is just the start of movies I could compare Unnatural to, and the sheer bulk of comparison hits Unnatural shockingly hard.

Oh, and special side note: you're not seeing things. That's Ray Wise as a comparatively minor character in all this, so enjoy that sweet cameo action.

Again, I have to emphasize: this is not a bad movie. It does its job passably well. It's a little thin, and a little tepid, but it's just so familiar that it loses a lot of its impact right out of the gate. That's not what I expect in an After Dark film, and getting it leaves me deeply nonplussed.

The ending, however, provides a nice little chill; it's clear that Cloberch isn't done yet, and we've already seen what one of their little projects can do.

Special features are, once again, nonexistent. It's getting to be not only predictable, but also annoying. For crying out loud, this is Current Year. If you're releasing a movie to anything but the film festival circuit, add some subtitles at least.

We haven't found a dog in Unnatural, but what we have found is a pile of warmed-over muck not worthy of the After Dark name. It hasn't specifically shamed it, no sir; that would take a bad movie and this is not such an animal. But instead, what we have is a mediocre, almost lazy production that gives us precious little we haven't already seen.