Straight from the beginning The Unforgiving is all very confusing. Seemingly about a homicidal maniac who kills people for no reason it would appear, at first glance, to be a low budget South African version of Saw.
Debut feature for writer and director Alastair Orr, The Unforgiving has room for improvement. An interesting watch if just to appreciate its low budget, the film uses a cast of unknown actors who do a credible job for the most part.
Despite its best intentions, this movie cannot be classed as a horror. Instead of there being any fear or suspense there is just a looming feeling of confusion. Despite building itself up at the beginning like a movie such as Saw or Hostel, it is not a gory slasher movie.
With its constant chopping and changing between its interview scenario and what happened to the two survivors it doesn’t manage to create a sympathetic tie between character and audience. Yes, the torture they endure is terrible but it there is no connection between the characters and the audience that other shock-horror movies build before terrible things begin to happen.
As well as incorporating an unsympathetic cast the movie is edited with a very heavy hand. Many scenes cut to black, leaving the audience feeling confused. Instead of using this confusion to its advantage these black screens are never used to their full potential. The script seems to be a mix-up of lines from other movies with a few added words. The frantic and unstable movement of the camera is clearly employed to create distressing viewing for the audience but it does not seem to have this effect, instead making for confusing and difficult viewing.
For all of its bad points, the story does have an interesting and unseen twist to it that is an intelligent move for an otherwise stab-in-the-dark-at-a-horror movie. If you’re someone who is not big on horror but wants something to pass the time or if you can appreciate work done on a low budget than this movie is definitely for you.
Best line: ‘In the land of the pig, the butcher is King’.
Best scene: Where the brother speaks the best line.
Worst scene: When the killer stamps on the phone is slow and unconvincing.