From the moment I heard about the new horror film The Unwilling, I was intrigued. Not only does it have a kickass cast (Hello! Lance-freaking-Henriksen!), but the plot sold me right away.
For me, it was relatable in some ways. My mom had severe OCD while I was growing up. She’s even been involved in studies and published papers on it. Thankfully, her OCD isn’t as severe anymore, some of it still haunts me, and I know how traumatizing it can be, not only for the person going through it but also for the people who love them. For me, mixing this subject and horror was eerily perfect, but was it executed properly? Keep reading and find out!
The Unwilling was created Oscar-nominated director Jonathan Heap (12:01 PM 1990). Besides Lance-freaking-Henriksen, the cast includes David Lipper (Dante’s Peak 1997, Frequency TV series), Dina Meyer (Saw series, Piranha 3D 2010), Levy Tran (Shameless TV series, Vigilante Diaries 2016), Bree Williamson (A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff 2016), Jake Thomas (A.I. 2001, The Cell 2000), Austin Highsmith (Criminal Minds TV series, Scream: The TV Series ), and Robert Rusler (Ray Donovan TV series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 1985).
Official Synopsis for The Unwilling:
David Harris (Lipper) is normal in almost every way, but he has to fight through a crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder, brought on by his abusive father during his childhood. His OCD forces him to repeat movements and phrases and confines him to the safety of his home. Following his father’s death, David’s estranged relatives arrive to hear the reading of the will in anticipation for their piece of the fortune. They are surprised by the delivery of a Lovecraft-style antique box instead. The box takes hold of their innermost desires one by one, and entices the dangerous behavior that ensues. Will they last through the night or be wishing they never gave into temptation?
The Unwilling started off a bit rocky, but overall, was refreshingly brilliant and utterly disturbing, leaving me completely satisfied. Although it reminded me of similar stories like Final Destination and Wish Upon, the film brought a brand new thrilling, psychological mindfuck to the mix. With its claustrophobic atmosphere, you will question whether pressing play was such a good idea.
The reason why The Unwilling rises above other similar movies are that most people can relate to mental illness, whether they deal with it themselves or know someone who does. The filmmakers mixed the two in a way that pans out exquisitely. Everyone in the film is suffering from their own demons, and now, this mysterious box has gathered them all to battle them together.
I will say that some of the acting in this film was mediocre at best, and there were a few scenes that were a little over the top, but for the most part, the actors gave solid, relatable performances, especially for David Lipper, whose character, also named David, stole the goddamn show. I felt so bad for him! He portrayed the symptoms of OCD in a disturbingly accurate manner. The last scene he’s in completely choked me up and ripped my heart right out of my chest.
Along with the story and characters, there are some truly sinister and hair-raising moments in The Unwilling, especially the flashbacks with David’s father, played by Lance Henricksen. This may be the first role where you truly despise Lance Henricksen. I know I did. The box itself was cool, not completely original, but it had its own twist. Rather than being gory, this film plays more on the psychological thrill than anything else. Despite the mystery of the whole situation, the film flows smoothly without any confusion or plot holes.
Final Thoughts on The Unwilling:
If you’re looking for a film that delivers a fresh new horror story that’s still reminiscent of past favorites, The Unwilling is for you. It may have some flaws and over the top performances from time to time, but the story and tension make up for it. The Unwilling is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and VOD.