More a psychological ‘whodunnwhat’ than an out-and-out horror as such, Unconscious (aka Amnesiac) proves an interesting, if at times frustrating watch.

A film that not only asks for, but virtually demands, an audience’s concentration, chances are the casual viewer will be surprised at just how much is left open to interpretation – or that is merely hinted or suggested rather than being simply spelled out.

That is no bad thing, and I don’t mind admitting that I actually rewound the last 20 minutes to check I’d understood everything that happened – and to be honest, I’m still not sure.

On the surface, the plot seems a fairly simple one.

The ‘man’ (no characters are ever given names) – Wes Bentley – wakes up in bed, pretty badly injured and recovering from a car crash that plays over the opening credits.

Suffering from amnesia, the man can only remember some hazy images of the accident, namely that he was driving with a woman, with his daughter in the back seat.

Turns out ‘the woman’ (Kate Bosworth) is his wife, there to look after him and cater for his every need.

So far, so straightforward, but then things start to get a bit cloudy – is Bosworth really his wife? Was the girl in the back seat really his daughter? How come Bosworth escaped unscathed? Why does the film keep cutting to a police officer on a missing person’s case?

We get quite a few horror clichés/tropes trotted out for good measure here – the secret in the basement and endless scenes of Bentley nearly-but-not-quite figuring things out for starters.

But there is also a lot fresh about Unconscious, even if not all of it works.

Performances are key here, and both Bosworth and Bentley deliver.

Bosworth’s woman is a strange creation – although the film appears set in modern day, she seems to have dropped out of the 1950s, whether it be her clothes, hair or even her mannerisms.

Ice-cold with barely the flicker of emotion, her turn anchors the film.

Bentley on the other hand simply has to look confused or sedated for most of the movie, which he does well.

The film is hardly chock full of violence, but there are a couple of scenes that are certainly effective (hello Bosworth with an electric saw) and there is a drip feeding of tension that works.

Director Michael Polish’s effort is not entirely convincing – the ending just doesn’t work for me, but the fact that I was willing to stick with it as the mystery unraveled makes it a worthwhile watch.

 

DVD Review: Unconscious
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.