A stunning, wonderfully surprising thriller, “The Unraveling” kept me guessing and fully on the hook until its jaw-dropping conclusion.
There’s a reason that many horror movies take place in locations that are unfamiliar to our character: there’s a sense of unease that comes with unfamiliarity. But what if the strange place looked exactly like your own home? What if the person next to you in bed looked a lot like your spouse… but just wasn’t?
Allow me to present The Unraveling.
We follow Mary (Sarah Zanotti) as she tries to piece her life together in the aftermath of a terrible car accident, one caused by a steamy meet-up with her husband, Grayson (Sam Brooks).
Their marriage is on the ropes because of Mary’s traumatic brain injury, which causes her to disassociate with faces. Because of this issue, she believes her husband to be an imposter from another dimension within which she is trapped.
She receives phone calls from the real Grayson, who offers guidance and words of comfort as she struggles with this new reality.
I don’t wish to give much more on the plot of this movie because I do not want to spoil it for any potential viewers. But trust me when I say this movie is phenomenal; not just ‘indie-movie’ good, but really good.
The film wastes no time getting right to the point, giving us a strange set of circumstances that we can slowly digest throughout the remainder of the film.
We view the events from Mary’s head, but her injury makes her an unreliable narrator.
We are given different versions of reality that are immediately challenged by contradictory evidence, leaving us just like Mary: lost and unsure of who to trust.
The Unraveling is a perfectly paced thriller with more than enough heart and scares to satisfy any viewer.
The cinematography is perfect, and not once was I taken out of a scene because it felt low-budget. The characters are well fleshed out, with top-tier performances across the board.
No time is wasted in the movie. We are given our traumatic car accident two minutes and forty-three seconds into it. Minutes later, we feel out of place. With the runtime being just over an hour and a half, it’s quick and to the point, which I appreciate very much.
Throughout the movie, Mary often encounters a figure covered in tar. It was unsettling and actually caused me to jump when we were first introduced to him.
I was worried that the deep emotional undertones of the films would be undercut by cheap schlocky jumpscares, but I was thankfully wrong.
Our mystery figure disappears for long portions, stepping out of the way and allowing our story to develop only to reappear to reassert Mary’s sense of unease for fractions of a second.
It was done so tactfully that I was genuinely flinching wherever our ghost-friend appeared, which does not often happen to a cold, dead soul such as myself.
The scares were quick and fun, causing me to laugh at my own investment in the film instead of traumatizing me with horrific and gruesome images.
In addition to being a great thriller, The Unraveling has a surprising amount of depth.
Topics such as grief, loss, prenatal insecurity, suicide, and disability are all shown from Mary’s perspective, but we get enough interaction with him to see how it affects him as well.
We have a psychiatrist who gives us much-needed exposition, explaining the situations and stakes without it feeling forced or rehashed. It’s a clever way to explain complicated issues to the audience, such as Mary’s inability to make eye contact with her husband.
“Am I a good person?” seems out of place yet innocent enough when Mary asks it at the beginning, but as we progress, we see that there’s a lot more than a simple car accident at play here.
I loved this movie. It’s one of the best movies that I’ve seen in a long time because it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
The ending was not at all what I thought, wrapping it up in a poignant yet satisfying way that forced me to rewatch the film again.