Starring David Lipper, Dina Meyer, Bree Williamson, Lance Henriksen
Directed by Jonathan Heap
Ever since he earned an Oscar nomination for his sci-fi short 12:01 PM, Jonathan Heap has enjoyed a successful directing career. He’s wading into Lovecrafian territory for his latest film, The Unwilling, with mostly positive results.
After the death of an elderly rich man (Lance Henriksen), his relatives gather at a secluded house to go over his will, which is interrupted by the arrival of a cursed book. I can’t really say much about Henriksen’s performance here, because he probably only had around one-hundred seconds of screen time, if that. I guess he must have charged by the hour, but when you have such a prolific actor as one of your key selling points, the best thing to do would be to use him.
So even though Henriksen was barely in the movie, David Lipper was faultless as the main protagonist, a man also called David, who suffers from such severe OCD that he literally has to count every step he takes when he walks across the room. David’s OCD has got to the point where he hardly ever goes outside, so it seems as though you could say that he’s trapped in his house in addition to being trapped in his own mind.
One thing which The Unwilling did particularly well was create a sense of claustrophobia. The entire film takes place almost entirely within the house, although the house doesn’t exactly stay in the same place, so to speak. Firstly, it seems like it’s somehow transported to another plane of existence (where the stars don’t shine), before a concrete-like substance begins to form around the walls. And, as will happen in any situation when people who aren’t necessarily friends are placed in close proximity to one another for an extended period, they’re soon at each other’s throats. Literally, in one case.
The Lovecraftian elements of plot only really began to rear their head as The Unwilling reached its conclusion, and although they should have kicked in sooner so that they could unfold more naturally, The Unwilling still worked as a study of how far humans can go when pushed to their limits. Just as the tagline says, evil is inside.