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‘…not a fun film, but a timely one, Unearth uncovers a familiar story of greed and decay…’

Eco-horror is a primordial genre that reaches back via Long Weekend to the H-bomb anxieties of the 50’s; directors John C Lyons and Dorota Swies tap into our fears about farming and fracking to bring us Unearth, a novel and unusually serious-minded horror film that chimes well with the sense of unease that 2021 currently has to offer in spades. While the long, slow burn may frustrate those hoping for a straightforward gross-out monster movie, Unearth takes enough care to delineate the economic and psychological issues that farming communities face to make it worth recommending to those who get the concept.

80’s scream queen Adrienne Barbeau is a big draw here as Kathryn Dolan, an experienced former who has a healthy distrust of the companies who seek to use her land for farming; she’s happy to send them packing. But the community around her is not so strong; families are struggling to put food on the table, and the temptation of a quick cash injection is too much for some. But as well as getting resoundingly rooked by the small print in the contract, the Dolan family find that there’s a hefty dose of body-horror coming their way as the wayward drilling unleashes something worse than just unwanted bills.

Stephen King’s essential book Danse Macabre goes into detail about how 1979’s The Amityville Horror is as effective detailing financial as supernatural shocks, and that same notion is useful here; Unearth deals with the horrors of being poor, with kids to feed, bills to pay, but the pervasive reek of desperation serving to push friends, family and customers away. It’s only round-about the hour mark that we start to understand the physical threat here as the farming families begin to find their bodies changing and a state of physical decay setting in.

Unearth won’t sell many tourist trips to Northwestern Pennsylvania, which offers a bleak backdrop to the horror-show here. But although it’s slow and quite unsettling by design, Unearth is a horror film that never gets silly, and that’s a rare thing in a genre that’s often characterised by excess. Not a fun film, but a timely one, Unearth uncovers a familiar story of greed and decay, and should be on any horror-fan’s must-see list for 2021.

Thanks to Signature Entertainment who are presenting Unearth on DVD and Digital Platforms in the UK from 28th June 2021



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  1. I’m all about cheap thrills, so I’ll be passing on this movie. If a movie is going to “unearth” something, that something had better start killing people right off the bat. Otherwise I feel like I’ve been sold a bill of goods….

    • We have a real monster in Loch Ness. I can always check with that if I need to know what one looks like in a hurry.

        • A gift to the Scottish people by the Alphacon race of Nebula 17. Free to all. Early closing Tuesday.

              • It was a tough day, but I’m inside where it’s cool and I’m sipping on a cold soda. This is the best I’ve felt since Saturday.

                I’d smack you around, but I see where that got Alex. Not a place I want to get to.

                  • France. All those foo foo pansies, no thanks. At least Canada has real lumberjack manly men. I’d move there but then I’d make them all feel embarrassed by how I totally out-macho’d them. Then there’d be axe fights and I’d probably get kicked out the country. That’s embarrassing too.

                    • That would leave you a man without a country. Because you were weak enough to imagine them kicking you out! Hardly macho behaviour!

                    • I feel like you are confusing Macho and Bravado. While I am full to the gills of both, bravado is what happens to strong men who don’t temper their strength with macho’ness.

                      Just like the Muppets sang in Season 4, I want to be a macho man…

  2. Happy to enjoy a slow burn. No problems with directors spending time of lifestyle. Sounds a very interesting picture and worth catching up with Barbeau.

    • I think the subject is a timely one, and this movie taps into our anxieties about the enviroment and the way we’re treating it. I guess some people will want a monster after ten minutes, but I liked the way it held back from cheap thrills.

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