Found Footage films are, quite thankfully, on the way out. When they’re done well, the use of handheld and multiple fixed cameras can make films more atmospheric and ramp up the tension. Unfortunately, for the most part, its has been increasingly used as a lazy device or a cheap way to flesh-out films. The Paranormal Activity franchise is indicative of this. However, writer/director Eugene McGing’s debut, The Unfolding, showcases how this approach can be beneficial when used cleverly.
When Tam (Lachlan Nieboer) takes his girlfriend Rose (Lisa Kerr) on a trip to Dartmoor she doesn’t quite get the romantic weekend she expected. Instead, he’s using it as an excuse to do some research on a haunted mansion. Aided by Tam’s friend Harvey (Nick Julian), paranormal expert Professor Chessman and a medium (Kitty McGeever), their discoveries about the gruesome history of the house put them in danger.
What impresses most about The Unfolding is Eugene McGing’s willingness to allow it to develop at its own pace without bombarding the audience with a menagerie of cheap jump-scares. The cameras are used well to heighten the tension, and when the moments of shock do happen, they pack an impressive punch. Set again a beautiful Devon backdrop, The Unfolding is a surprisingly mature first outing which uses the haunting countryside and creepy house to good effect.
The Unfolding is released on Digital HD and Video on Demand by Frightfest Presents on Monday.