Unwelcome Review

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In the age of computer-generated imagery, practical effects have become an almost-lost motion-picture art form. For that sole cause then, we are supposed to thank Unwelcome. It is a movie that unabashedly borrows from 1980s creepy-critter horror-comedies like Ghoulies or Gremlins; hence, it greatly benefits from a practical display of its mischievous dangers that hark back to when even the tiniest elf-like creatures seemed as if they could really scratch out your eyes.

Jon Wright, the director and co-writer, knows something about this type of business having brought along much of the talented team he had worked with on his previous horror pictures Grabbers and Tormented. However, as far as these leprechaun-like sprites –the far darrig are concerned–he seems reluctant introducing them only in the last hour. So this movie draws not just on Celtic folklore but also films from the 1970s dealing with home invasion or rather defining motherhood.

This means it can be tone-deaf too often. There’s some quite heavy-handed commentary on Anglo-Irish relations here and there with references to An American Werewolf In London or Straw Dogs and Game Of Thrones’ Hodor (Kristian Nairn) unexpectedly showing up. That said, it has several heartbreakingly violent scenes involving pregnant women; yet at one point it even contains a grinning goblin who says “Silly billy!”

It wants to be dreadful, terrifying and idiotic all at once through labored dialogue (“Your aunt Maeve just died!” one character will clarify) while continuously emphasizing on certain themes (“Mothers are capable of crazy shit!”). The film appears to contain like three or four plotlines conflicting at any given moment.

However, all this is forgiven effortlessly because ultimately what wins through is the far darrig storyline. They reside in the woods, require blood sacrifices and will fight to the death when it comes to defending their domain. Their practical interaction with actors is truly exciting to watch as the ingenious blending of traditional and modern methods makes them come alive, culminating in a completely insane, gore-spattered climax. If only they had more screen time! Time for ‘Unwelcome 2: The New Batch’?

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