Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Unhinged (1982)

The thing about 80's slashers is that to get to the good and great ones, you have to wade through a marsh of shit. Sure, films like "The Burning" and "Just Before Dawn" are close to fans hearts for very good reason, but for every "Friday the 13th IV", there are unwatchable disasters like "The Prey" and "Doom Asylum" that make one wonder why they watch these movies.

Then there's Don Gronquist's "Unhinged." One of the movies that made the UK's "Video Nasty" list due to it's cover art, the movie has garnered a mixed reputation. Some see it as one of the worst representations of the slasher genre, while others see it as a neglected gem. To tell the truth, this is a case where neither is really correct.

The plot is pretty straightforward: Three college girls are on there way to a Jazz festival, when their care crashes in the woods during a rainstorm. They end up finding what seems at first like hospitality from a family in an old mansion. This being a slasher movie, things soon turn south.

The problem with "Unhinged"-well, one of them, is that it's a mostly lackluster affair. The directing is choppy for the large part, while the acting is bad even for slasher movie standards. It also doesn't help that it is sloooooow moving to the point of tedium. I'm all for slow moving horror, but I have my limits. There's also a twist at the end that's borderline insulting, and is one of the worst lifts from "Psycho" I've ever seen. One wonders what those involved were thinking when they wrote this.

Yet, there are some bright spots. Though there are only three death scenes, they are actually quite violent and interesting, and manage to keep the viewers interest-even though it feels like they've come in too late. The electronic score by Jon Newton is also great, and probably one of the most underrated scores in slasher movie history. Finally, there are some fairly creepy moments in the movie, and it uses it's atmosphere quite well in places.

Still, the bad outweighs the good unfortunately. Should you see it? Well, if you are obsessed with 80's slasher movies, then yes you should see it. Otherwise, you really aren't missing a whole lot. Not one of the worst slasher movies ever, but not exactly a good one either.

Rating: 4.5/10

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