DVD REVIEW

Unspeakable

Unspeakable
I have long suspected that a secret organization exists among the Hollywood community. Their purpose is uncertain and their membership is difficult to discern, but one thing is undeniable: they have serious control over the types of movies that are made and who gets to make them. What evidence can I offer of their existence: the production of really bad movies. I suspect that when certain people in the movie-making industry anger the high ranking members of this secret organization, their unavoidable punishment is being forced to participate in the production of painfully horrible films. Unspeakable, the horror/thriller film, is but one more clue in my ongoing pursuit of the truth.

The Movie: star rating

Diana Purlow (Dina Meyer) is a scientist in pursuit of the ultimate tool for psychological analysis. Her efforts circulate around a device that probes human thought for the truth, kind of like the Vulcan mind meld, except you need a laptop, wires and a head strap. Her quest in life is to help determine whether or not death row inmates are telling the truth about their innocence. Unfortunately, to test her theory and her equipment she needs access to death row inmates. Her largest obstacles are an excessively zealous warden (Dennis Hopper) who loves to throw people in the electric chair, and a neurotic state governor (Jeff Fahey) who apparently had a very intimate relationship with Diana when she was a minor.

Dianaís research takes a very twisted turn when the worldís creepiest, most intelligent and apparently sexiest, serial killer, Jesse Mowatt (Pavan Grover), shows up on death row. Her PC powered mind meld reveals that his lethal talent is due to highly evolved latent psychic powers and an ability to instantly infect people with a brain eating worm by simply biting or scratching them. Of course, this only leads to a deeper fascination on Dianaís part. But the deeper she probes, the creepier the details she uncovers.

While the concept behind the plot of this movie was rather intriguing and full of potential, the filmís horrific execution of the concept reeks of influence by the secret Hollywood society. Pavan Grover not only played the starring role (his first movie acting gig), he also wrote the script (also a first). In real life heís a successful, award winning medical doctor, but his interest in the cinema has made him an unwitting pawn, ready to give the secret society their next big disaster. His script is full of unpolished, predictable scenarios and clunky dialogue, the kind of bumps one would expect a studio to hire an accomplished writer to help smooth out. No such luck.

So, with the veritable torture chamber in place, who was the society out to punish with Unspeakable (besides the movie going public who decided to watch it and the poor folks who have to review it)? Lance Henrikson has the dubious honor of being the most abused actor of the show. His character is basically pointless and doesnít get a single interesting bit of dialogue. In some scenes you can actually feel him crying out for someone to kill his character so he can go home. Director Thomas J. Wright must have really ticked someone off. How often is a director subjected to helming a terrible movie that stars the person who wrote it? Dennis Hopper is also paying for some kind of heinous crime, but thatís no surprise. We all want to see him suffer for putting us through Super Mario Bros. and Waterworld.

Maybe Iím overreacting. Perhaps these actors and filmmakers were somehow perversely inspired by this rough-hewn script (or its writer) and walked with open eyes and arms into this project. Nevertheless, I choose to suspect they were being tortured and punished against their will while making Unspeakable, mainly because thatís how I felt watching it. Meanwhile, my search for more evidence of the existence of Hollywoodís secret society will continue.

The Disc: dvd

The bonus features on this disc are a horror unto themselves. Shameless menu padding is rampant as even the upcoming release options are split into multiple sections. The material available, what precious little there is, is hardly worth watching. Iím not sure why Iím complaining though. When a movie is this bad, who really wants to watch the special features.

The deleted scenes section is something of an anomaly. Usually scenes are deleted because they donít work well, they donít fit well into the final version of the film, or something simply has to go because the filmís too long. In this case, the cutting room floor is a somewhat more ambiguous place. None of the scenes in the movie work any better than the deleted ones, the final version is still incoherent, and the movie remains 109 minutes too long.

Next up are the extended gory scenes. Thatís right, they were so desperate for filler bonus material that they included extended raw footage of the most gory effects in the film. Itís actually a front row seat to seeing just exactly how lame and cheesy the effects really are. What was mildly disturbing in the film becomes a downright snicker-fest in the special materials. It finally degrades into pure boredom as you watch Pavan Grover spend several minutes repeatedly trying to pin a worm in his ear with a phone receiver in an attempt to garner one of the movieís creepier moments.

Youíll find an outtakes reel, but donít expect anything entertaining or enjoyable. I suspect it was included to be funny, but it fails miserably in that regard. The short montage is nothing more than a simple collection of a few scenes where an actor flubbed a line or missed a cue. The sequence was hardly worth including.

There are no commentaries to listen to. It would have been nice to be able to go back and watch the film again with the voice of Thomas Wright trying to make some sense of the filmís truly convoluted plot twists and insultingly predictable story line. Even better would have been to hear Grover himself expounding on his dreadfully incarnated script.

I say with fear that the greatest horror of the DVD release is yet to come. The utter lack of decent bonus material leads me to only one, unspeakable conclusion: a special edition lurks somewhere down the road.

Reviewed By: Scott Gwin

Release Details
Length: 109 min
Rated: R
Distributor: MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date:  2004-10-05
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Pavan Grover, Dina Meyer, Lance Henriksen, Jeff Fahey
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright
Produced by: Lee Friedlander
Written by: Pavan Grover
Visit the Unspeakable Official Website
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