Relapsing in a big way, barely functional drug addict Michael (Zack Gold) is just about keeping it together, hiding his habit from his loved ones and working all the hours God sends to pay for his wedding to his pregnant and long-suffering fiancée Jess (Cooper Harris).

Coming down the morning after a big night, Michael impulsively steals money and drugs from a passed out, bald, psycho drug dealer and heads home to clean up before work, presenting the money, $6000, to Jess as payment for some overtime he’s worked. So when a group of masked men ambush him at work, tie him up, throw him in the trunk of a car and drive him into the middle of nowhere, Michael’s sure his sins have finally caught up with him and his kidnapping is retribution for his theft.

His ‘kidnappers’ however reveal themselves to be his BFFs who’ve decided to throw Michael an impromptu bachelor party in the woods as he bailed on the Vegas one they had planned. Though ‘party’ might be pushing it as all they have planned is sitting around the campfire, telling old stories and drinking a fine 45-year-old Scotch – no strippers, no hookers, no drugs (other than Michael’s secret stash) – doesn’t sound like much of a party to me!

But, when the drugs run out and his friends start dying one by one, Michael starts to wonder if the aforementioned bald, psycho drug dealer hasn’t crashed the party after all and, when he starts hallucinating figures in the woods, is paranoia and going cold turkey just getting the better of him or is there a more supernatural force at work?

There’s been a lot of criticism that this year’s FrightFest has featured too many films that weren’t strictly horror, The Unraveling among them, that they were more thriller or Sci-Fi, and it’s probably true. The Unraveling isn’t strictly a horror in the sense that some audience members want, it’s horror elements serving as a slightly heavy handed metaphor for drug addiction: Don’t do drugs! You’ll lose your friends! Though in reality it’s more likely to be because you’re a selfish dick who steals and pawns their telly for a fix rather than because a bald, psycho drug dealer is going to play Hide ’n’ Seek with you in the woods.

While Zack Gold’s Michael is a solid, soulful presence and his gang of bros likeable enough, there’s nothing particularly memorable about The Unraveling, the script is merely functional, the direction a little too on the nose, – seriously dude, having the boys give each other furtive meaningful looks around the campfire every time Michael’s back is turned kills any suspense stone dead – and it’s last act twist is pretty obvious.

Atmospheric but largely superfluous, The Unraveling is an effective little timewaster.

Horror Channel Frightfest review: The Unraveling
2.5Overall Score
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