Unnatural (2015) **
D: Hank Braxtan
C: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ray Wise, Ron Carlson, Graham Greene, Allegra Carpenter, Ivana Korab, Q'orianka Kilcher, Stephanie Hodes, Gregory Cruz
Plot Synopsis: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.
-The premise had the potential to be something memorable.
-The plotting. Pretty early on, the characters realize that they're pitted against a genetically modified polar bear. They retreat to a winter lodge to await the arrival of a plane that's supposed to pick them up. We watch as the characters wait and wait ....and then wait some more. Eventually, one character goes out looking for help. Guess what happens next?
Then the characters wait and wait ....and wait yet again. Then another character goes out looking for help. Guess what happens ...yet again?
-The film's sense of logic & reason. If a plane is supposed to be on the way, why are the characters even trekking outside?!? You would think that the characters would be smart enough to stay put in the winter lodge after one person winds up dead. However, since this is a horror movie and it needs a body count, characters have to wander alone so that the polar bear can kill them.
-A veteran cast is wasted. For example, Sherilyn Fenn turned in a memorable performance in Boxing Helena as a woman with a heart made of ice. She plays a scientist in Unnatural. When we think of scientists in horror movies, we think of characters with a detached manner, devoid of human emotions, driven by scientific evidence. Wouldn't this have been a prime opportunity to exploit that icy demeanor that Fenn showcased in Boxing Helena? Instead, after making a few scientific statements, Fenn is reduced to waiting and running around like all the other characters.
-The antagonist, a killer polar bear that's been spliced with wolf DNA! The possibilities were endless, but instead the bear dispatches of characters, on que, whenever they wander alone. The bear isn't given anything innovative, humorous, remotely suspenseful or tantalizingly violent to do.
Overall: When writing this review, I couldn't help looking up director Hank Braxtan's filmography. His first film was a short entitled Freddy vs Ghostbusters (as in Freddy Krueger). Talk about one hell of a concept! With Unnatural, he has one hell of a concept, one hell of a cast and one hell of a villain. And they've all been reduced to something generic and by the numbers.
[R] 89 minutes.
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