The Unwanted has some things going for it especially with its two relatively young actresses in Hannah Fierman and Christen Orr and although some work could’ve been done with the writing and in the editing room, there’s enough there that makes it worth at least a rental.
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery, Romance
Kino Lorber | NR – 96 min. – $24.95 | July 14, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
I wasn’t sure what to think going into The Unwanted. It’s supposedly based on or inspired by writer Sheridan LeFanu’s “Carmella,” a Gothic tale I’m not overly familiar with though passively aware of. And while this is hardly a great film and has some issues with editing, all around it’s a well made, and memorable for so many reasons, mystery-drama-romance.
Carmella (CHRISTEN ORR) is a young woman on the trail of her mother, Millarca (KYLIE BROWN), who went missing and her last known location in a small Southern town. Carmella arrives at a home where the homeowner, Troy (WILLIAM KATT) and his daughter Laura (HANNAH FIERMAN), deny knowing her. With the trail now cold, Carmella goes to town attempting to regroup when Laura reveals she and her father knew Millarca: apparently years earlier, Troy had rented a trailer to Carmella’s mother and supposedly she had skipped out without paying rent and even pawned off a couple items. However, as the movie progresses, there is more to the story, to the point it changes a couple of times.
In the meantime, Carmella decides to stick around and with Laura not having any close friends, the two begin hanging out together where we get a bit of Twilight mixed with some Brokeback Mountain to really spice things up. See, not only was Millarca around but she herself had drawn close to Laura’s mother, Karen (LYNN TALLEY), who had died after a battle with cancer.
The Unwanted was one of the more surprising films I’ve come across midway through 2015. Despite its problems in editing as the story takes a long time to fully develop with a more slow burn approach through probably the first half, the film goes full steam ahead through upper part of the second act right through a brutal finale. Outside of the story and the more steamy scenes, mixing Lesbianism and vampirism (?), the strong suit of the film is with the acting. Both Hanna Fierman and Christen Orr turn in what I hope are star-making performances. The two share great, if not unusual, chemistry with one another while veteran actor William Katt makes for a creepy and nasty catalyst whose character has an unhealthy relationship with Laura, though no abuse is shown, but given her behavior, certainly implied.
The Unwanted, originally filmed under Carmella, was written and directed by Bret Wood marking his third feature film and has mostly been known for producing a variety of shorts and documentaries which comes through with his style, under the lense by Chris Tsambis, with lots of darker tones though the editing got a bit messy intercutting the scenes between Laura/Carmella and Millarca/Karen which came across clunky more than anything.
Flaws aside, though, I kind of dug The Unwanted going beyond the sexual aspects and instead with its brutal nature and a rather unpredictable ending. Yes, the film could’ve used some polishing in both the writing and direction but as it stands, it’s probably worth a rental.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
This release comes with a reversible cover with the other side having profile posters for Laura and Carmella with the option of having one or the other adorning the front.
Making of Documentary (9:26; HD) is a rather basic primer featuring interviews with the cast and crew intercut with scenes from the movie and, a nice surprise, audition video as well.
Deleted Scenes (13:29; HD) – We get a handful of scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut, most likely due to pacing.
Last is the short film, The Other Half (17:19; HD) as well as a couple of Trailers.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
The Unwanted arrives on Blu-ray’s doorstep presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture quality on this release was decent enough with good detail levels throughout while colors ranged from natural colors to deep reds in certain scenes. There didn’t appear to be any flaws from dust marks, artifacting or aliasing.
AUDIO – 2.0/5
The movie includes a PCM Stereo track which is downright uneven. While the music and score sounded great and had a bit of depth to it, the other elements including dialogue sounded awful, at times as if it was recorded in a booth. Some scenes I had a hard time discerning what was being said. Besides dialogue, even ambient noises or on-screen action was terribly flat. Honestly, it was kind of surprising how bad this lossless track was for a new release.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, The Unwanted has some things going for it especially with its two relatively young actresses in Hannah Fierman and Christen Orr and although some work could’ve been done with the writing and in the editing room, there’s enough there that makes it worth at least a rental. The Blu-ray released by Kino Lorber is a tad weak with some basic bonus material and while the video was decent, the audio had so much to be desired.