Unhinged (198) *1/2
D: Don Gronquist
C: Laurel Munson, Janet Penner, Sara Ansley, Virginia Settle, Barbara Lusch, Bill Simmonds, John Morrison
Plot Synopsis: Three college girls on their way to a jazz festival crash their car in the isolated woods during a rainstorm, and are taken in by a mysterious family in an old mansion. Little do the girls know, the family has a dark, murderous secret.
Review: Unhinged has one of the most powerfully executed endings, of any horror movie, of the 80's. It's a truly surprising moment that delivers elements of suspense, dark comedy and offbeat character development. It's a shame that the rest of the movie isn't nowhere near as effective.
It's as though writer /director Don Gronquist had an idea for an ending, but no actual movie to go along with that ending. In it, we watch as three young girls venture out to a music fest. This includes endless scenes of them simply driving. There's no real character development during any of these scenes. There's not even any interesting bits of dialogue. Due to a horror movie contrivance and, does it really matter what that contrivance is, the girls are forced into spending the night at a mansion that looks like something straight from the horror 101 playbook.
The inhabitants of the mansion are the usual stock characters. There's an introvert, a domineering mother that looks like she would be good friends with Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, a groundskeeper (after all, what mansion is complete without a groundskeeper?!?) and a man that stumbles upon the mansion, in a creepy manner, so that they can add an extra red herring to the mix. Other then the mother character, foaming at the mouth, it's one stretched out scene after another of the mansion being photographed in a menacing sort of way while the protagonists debate their surroundings.
There's a teeny bit of nudity and a smidgen of blood shed, but nothing that provides for an arousing moment or a scene of violence that spices up the proceedings. Unhinged simply limps from one prolonged scene to the next, in which nothing really happens. At one point, it makes you want to yell at the screen and tell the characters to either get the Hell out of there -or- DIE, so that something, anything happens!
Eventually, they arrive at the finale and it's the one sole moment where interest is piqued. To get to this moment, isn't worth having to sit through everything else, or, in this case, it's not worth having to sit through repeated scenes of nothingness. [Not Rated] 81 minutes.
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