Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Unbelievable (2009)

I dislike the recent rash of ghost hunter shows that have flooded American TV. They all feel fake, and indeed several of the shows are not what they appear to be with some of the people involved being better show men than investigators.

While I like the idea of paranormal investigation shows, the fact that you have to come up with essentially a “monster of the week” makes things curiously questionable. If they don’t find anything people won’t tune in after a few weeks. It’s one of the reasons that the History Channel’s Monsterquest TV show ends up with some awkward moments when things don’t pan out in the end.

It was with not much hope I put in Unbelievable into my DVD player. To be honest I thought the film was a straight out horror film when I picked it up. It wasn’t until I started watching it I realized that this was a documentary, actually a feature film version of a long running Chinese cable TV show. It was at that point my heart sank since I was certain that the film was going to be complete and utter trash. Amazingly the film exceeded my expectations and ended up being one of those films I started handing off copies of to anyone who likes scary movies.

The film is supposed to be the stuff they couldn’t show on TV. It’s filled with dead bodies and séances and weird happenings and it moves along at such a good clip that you don’t have time to think about what you are seeing. The film begins with a set up and then tears through sequence after sequence as the crew visits the devastation of a Tsunami, rides shot gun with an ambulance crew, meets weird people and performs séances. Its just goes and goes until the final fade out and a haunting image that has stayed with me ever since I saw it.

I don’t know if none, some or all of the footage is faked, I don’t care because the building sense of unease and strangeness gets under your skin and stays with you. It certainly has more scares than all of the various ghost shows on American cable combined. This is one creepy film. If you want to see a quietly scary movie see this film.

Currently available as an import, this is one to search out.

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