A mother calls a father, concerned. Teen-aged daughter Eva is acting strange: grades suck, dropping out of sports, hanging out instead of applying to college. Bob hasn’t seen her in a while but sends checks. His ex-wife Darlene (Camille Sullivan) thinks it’s time he re-involves himself.
It sounds like the makings of a family drama, but wait: a flicker. Of something strange. Mysterious. Maybe a little…creepy? In an unguarded moment Bob (Aden Young) shows us his secret. Under layers of clothes and bandages, his flesh is disappearing.
In this modern retelling of The Invisible Man, it’s clear that Bob is suffering – the physical pain leaving an ugly grimace on his face, the mental anguish evident in his isolated, tattered little life. His body’s disintegration mimics that of his family. Both leave him feeling raw. But when his daughter Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) goes missing, Bob will do anything to find her, even it means partnering with criminals to finance the trip, even if it means exposing the closely-guarded secret of his descent into invisibility.
This is writer-director Geoff Redknap’s first feature film, but if anyone can handle this gritty horror thriller, it’s him. He’s best known for his special makeup effects work on TV’s The X-Files, The Flash, and Fear The Walking Dead, and in movies like Watchmen, Deadpool, Warcraft, and the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, but that’s just a fraction of his IMDB credits. The list is so long and impressive that you might wonder where he found the time to make this move into writing and directing, but it’s clear that movies are his passion.
The Unseen is a tensely edited thriller with a sci-fi medical twist. Redknap’s makeup FX background puts the horror back into horrific; Bob’s wounds are bloody disgusting, almost gleefully so. But this movie doesn’t coast on gore alone – in fact, it’s got a solid story, is compellingly shot by cinematographer Stephen Maier, and is well-acted by the gruff Young. You don’t often see a debut feature so self-assured but Redknap’s arrival as both writer and director make it certain that this may be his first, but it won’t be his last.